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No public gathering at any sporting event: Sports Ministry

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The Sports Ministry on Thursday asked all national federations to ensure that any sporting event in India is conducted without any public gathering amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“To deal with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued advisories and advised the state governments to take appropriate action under the Epidemic Diseases Act,1897.

“You are advised to adhere to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and ensure that no public gathering takes place in any sporting event. In the event, the sporting event cannot be avoided, the same could be done without allowing gathering of people, including spectators,” the Sports Ministry said in a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all national sports federations including the BCCI.

The central government had on Wednesday suspended all visas, barring a few categories like diplomatic and employment, in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus as cases across the country rose to over 70.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also declared COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) a “pandemic”.

The government’s decision to suspend most visas until April 15 has put a question mark on the sporting events in India. While the Indian Premier League (IPL) is likely to be held behind closed doors, the Indian Super League (ISL) final between ATK and Chennaiyin is also likely to be played sans any spectators in Goa on Saturday.

The coronavirus outbreak has also led to doubts over the Tokyo Olympics but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has insisted that the Games will be held as scheduled in July-August.

–IANS

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