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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, March 30, 2020

AFF competitions delayed
Several competitions of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) scheduled for the next four months had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Football Federation announced.

The announcement follows the decisions made by FIFA and AFC to postpone the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers and the AFC club competitions scheduled from March to June this year.

The AFF U18 Women’s Championship (June 2020), AFF U16 Boys’ Championship (July 2020), and AFF U19 Boys Championship (August 2020) are also moved to later dates.

The AFF Women’s Championship Qualifiers,which were to be hosted by the Philippines in May-June 2020, is also postponed to a later date.

The inaugural ASEAN Club Championship, where PFF has nominated Ceres-Negros FC to compete in the tournament, has been rescheduled for 2021.

Other AFF competitions scheduled for the latter part of the year including the AFF U15 Girls’ Championship (September 2020) and the AFF Suzuki Cup (November 2020) are set to push through.*

Gobert, all NBA Jazz players
staff cleared of coronavirus

Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus, and all Utah Jazz players and staff have been cleared of coronavirus by the Utah Department of Health, the club announced.

It was Frenchman Gobert testing positive for COVID-19 just before a game on March 11 at Oklahoma City that prompted the NBA to shut down the season, with his teammate Donovan Mitchell also testing positive.

Players and staff members completed a 14-day isolation and quarantine period and no longer pose a risk of infection to others,  the state health department said.

Clearance typically involves two negative tests for coronavirus that are taken at least 24 hours apart.

Jazz players had been in quarantine or isolation since March 11, staying in touch through video chat links.

Jazz players and staff will continue to practice distancing and limit time outside of their homes to essential activities, following guidelines from the NBA and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Jazz news comes a day after Detroit's Christian Wood became the first publicly known NBA player to be cleared after testing positive for coronavirus on March 15.

Wood, the third NBA player to test positive after Gobert and Mitchell, had been matched against Gobert in a game against the Jazz just before the Frenchman's positive test.*AFP

Football league plays on in Belarus

As the rest of Europe shuts up shop to combat the new coronavirus, Belarus remains resolutely open for business.

Restaurants in the former Soviet Republic continue to serve food, and the country's football league plays on.

Despite being at the door of a Europe grappling with the deadly COVID-19, life goes on here more or less unchecked.

The Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has dismissed the global health crisis as a "psychosis", and refuses to follow the example of much of the globe by imposing a lockdown.

With less than 100 positive cases and no deaths in Belarus, Lukashenko this week suggested "there shouldn't be any panic" over the virus.

He encouraged his citizens to work on the land.

"There, the tractor will heal everyone. The fields heal everyone," suggested the straight-talking former collective farm director who assumed power in 1994.

On Saturday at an ice hockey gala match he went further, saying that "it was better to die a dignified death than live on your knees".

And so, in stark contrast to all the leagues elsewhere on the European continent, the Belarus championship, like the country's tractors, ploughs on, undeterred.

Saturday's upset win by home side Mozyr over the country's top team BATE Borisov was watched by several thousand fans, and screened live on Russian television.

In the capital, FK Minsk's humble ground was half full for the derby against Dinamo, fans behind both goals ending the game shirtless.

One fan, Igor, 33, told AFP: "Even if we've turned up here, we try to self-isolate, we came by car, wewash our hands 10 times."

 Special measures have been put in place nonetheless including thermal cameras to check the temperature of fans as they enter stadia which are disinfected twice a day.

Those precautions satisfied another fan, Ludmila, a 55-year-old school teacher who said that "people who are ill won't be here".*AFP

 


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Gobert, all NBA Jazz players
staff cleared of coronavirus

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