The novel coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people across the world and has infected more than 1,60,000 people globally. The confirmed cases of COVID-19 have already surpassed 100 in India and it is indeed a worrying sign. To make things worse, India has recorded two deaths as well with the Government taking all the possible steps to avoid spreading of the virus.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the people not to panic while also asserting that the government is keeping a tab on the situation as it is taking the necessary steps to combat the fast-spreading outbreak. Amid coronavirus fears, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has postponed the cash-rich Indian Premier League until April 15.
South African players left stranded
Meanwhile, South Africa cricket team will be flying out of India from Kolkata, but are expected to be put up at a Rajarhat hotel, close to the airport, instead of a hotel in Alipore which is closer to Eden Gardens. South Africa who were slated to play India in the third ODI at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday, will take a Tuesday morning flight from Kolkata to Dubai en route South Africa.
The first ODI in Dharamsala was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to torrential downpour and the teams flew to Lucknow after it was announced that the last two games will be played behind closed doors after an advisory from the Union sports ministry that public gatherings during sports events should be put to a halt because of the growing coronavirus outbreak and with that being the case, the Indian cricket body, BCCI subsequently called off the series.
CAB president Avishek Dalmiya, according to Times of India, said, “Authorities wanted them to stay closer to the airport, hence Westin was the best option. CAB will arrange doctors to provide support. Our office bearers will be there too. We are in touch with BCCI as well as Bengal government officials. The Bidhannagar Police Commissioner is also looking into the matter.”
L.N. Meena, who is the Bidhannagar CP, refused to specify the details while adding that a final decision has not been taken. A senior Westin official said, “Should any such decision be taken, we are ready to host the South African cricket team. All precautionary health measures according to the Central and state directives will be taken.”
A written query to the Alipore hotel did not receive any response. A senior Bengal government official said that the South Africans were originally scheduled to stay in a city hotel. “However, with the match being called off, it was felt the South African team should stay in a hotel closer to the airport. Accordingly, the BCCI was informed today when we learnt that the SA team is sticking to their Kolkata travel schedule. Wherever the team stays, all necessary health precautions will be taken as the Central and state said.”
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