By Omar Mohammed
NAIROBI, March 12 (Reuters) – Kenya’s athletics authority stated on Thursday it had barred its athletes from travelling to worldwide occasions as a result of considerations over the coronavirus outbreak.
The announcement comes a day after the World Well being Group labelled the outbreak a pandemic.
Greater than 126,000 folks have been contaminated globally by the virus and greater than 4,600 have died, in line with a Reuters tally primarily based on official bulletins.
The East African nation, which has not had a confirmed case of the virus, boasts a number of the world’s high athletes, who often win medals at premier competitions in Europe, Asia and North America.
“Following a directive from the Authorities of Kenya and because of the world outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Athletics Kenya has suspended all clearance and journey to worldwide occasions for athletes,” Athletics Kenya stated in a press release.
“In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the nation from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel journey preparations for the following one month pending additional communication.”
Bernard Ouma, who coaches 1,500m world champion Timothy Cheruiyot, instructed Reuters on Thursday: “Collectively we’re taking precautions simply because the nation is taking precautions.
“The danger of importation is what we are attempting to keep away from. So no matter measures are being taken by the authorities we are going to abide with them.
“On the finish of the day it’s about well being … if by travelling you’ll get sick, then you definately keep away from travelling.”
A number of sporting occasions all over the world have been cancelled or postponed as international locations attempt to include the unfold of the virus by discouraging mass gatherings.
There are rising considerations that the outbreak might affect this summer time’s Tokyo Olympics, although organisers say they’re urgent forward with the schedule.
Late on Wednesday, the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (NBA) stated it was suspending the season till additional discover after a Utah Jazz participant examined constructive for the coronavirus.
The pandemic has disrupted different sporting occasions in North America whereas soccer matches in Europe have additionally been hit onerous, with many high-profile fixtures going down in empty stadiums.
(Modifying by Peter Rutherford )
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