Despite the sports ministry’s directives to Himachal Pradesh state administrations to avoid mass gatherings in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, fans continued to pour in for the opening India-South Africa ODI in Dharamsala on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, talking to The Indian Express, Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya had said he had spoken to the chief secretaries of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and asked him to “adhere to the advisory issued by the health ministry in letter and spirit”. The ODI series between India and South Africa begins in Dharamsala on Thursday, followed by the second match Lucknow on March 15. “So the sporting event may go on but public gathering has to be avoided,” Julaniya told The Indian Express.
There are many confusions amongst the athletes at this moment. Two Advisories are issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports for matches abroad and the domestic. There’s no restrictions on playing but guidelines to be followed strictly in the larger interest of health. pic.twitter.com/RoohGcsOma
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 12, 2020
However, at Dharamsala hours before the game, supporters wearing masks were seen entering the stadium. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association secretary Sumit Sharma said, “We haven’t got any instruction.” Himachal Pradesh chief secretary Anil Kumar Khachi did not respond to phone calls or messages, seeking his comment. A ministry official said it was the responsibility of the state government to follow up on the issue.
Meanwhile, on being asked if he state has received any advisory from the Centre regarding not allowing public gathering/fans during the ODI match at Dharamsala, Kangra district collector (DC) Rakesh Prajapati said,” Yes we have received advisories and asked organiser HPCA for the needful. We are assisting them with our team of doctors.”
On Thursday, the Australian media reported that a spectator who attended last Sunday’s women’s T20 World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground tested positive for coronavirus. ”…a person who attended the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final at the MCG on Sunday, March 8 has now been diagnosed with COVID-19,” the Melbourne Cricket Ground management said in a statement.
Sporting events across the world continued to get impacted because of the virus outbreak. In the USA, the National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended its season after a player tested positive. Back home, the organizers of Road Safety World Series said the remaining matches of the tournament, being played at Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium, will be played behind closed doors. The Paralympics Committee of India, too, put on hold all national and state-level events.
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