Asean Basketball League implements closed-door games in HK, Macau
Asean Basketball League takes precautions in the light of Wuhan virus outbreak
The Asean Basketball League (ABL) yesterday announced a slew of measures, including closed-door games in Macau and Hong Kong, following the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
The move comes as deaths from the flu-like virus reached 132 in China, with nearby Macau and Hong Kong reporting seven and 10 cases of infection respectively.
The Macau Black Bears' 97-87 victory over the Malaysia Dragons at Hall D of the Venetian Macao last night was played behind closed doors, and so will the clash between Hong Kong Eastern and Singapore Slingers at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai tomorrow.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang feels adequate measures have been taken ahead of their trip to Hong Kong.
"We have our precautions, we have been provided with face masks and hand sanitisers... those are good enough precautions," Neo told The New Paper.
"The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation have not issued travel advisory to either Hong Kong and Macau, so it should be pretty safe...
"That said, both cities are close to China, so it makes sense to err on the side of caution and have closed-door games."
The Slingers, who defeated Saigon Heat 101-67 at the OCBC Arena last night, depart for Hong Kong today, with all 14 personnel - 11 players, two coaches and a physiotherapist - issued with face masks and a bottle of hand sanitiser each.
The Slingers will also minimise movement while they are in the metropolitan district.
Slingers guard Leon Kwek said: "The league has taken measures to ensure all involved with the teams are cared for.
"We let the management decide what's best for the players, we trust that the management has the safety of the players as its priority... so, if everything is good to go, we will respect that and do our job.
"Besides what we have been provided with, there would be minimal travelling... above and beyond that, individually, we have to adopt good hygiene practices."
The ABL also said that both the Venetian Macao's Hall D and Southorn Stadium would be disinfected before being opened to players, officials and other personnel. Only those who had pre-registered could enter the premises.
There will also be mandatory temperature checks at both venues, where face masks and sanitisers will be provided.
In Singapore, national sports associations such as the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) have also taken extra measures against the virus.
All STTA employees and athletes have been asked to submit travel declaration forms, with those returning from China being placed on a leave of absence for 14 days.
They were also advised to seek immediate medical attention if they are down with flu-like symptoms and to ensure that they are fully recovered before returning to their programmes.