The Delhi government has banned all sporting activities and events, including Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, until further notice “for the purpose of prevention and control of the outbreak of the epidemic disease, COVID-19”.
The ban is specific to sports events that will see gatherings of 200 people or more, and comes a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government ordered the closure of all schools, colleges and cinema theatres in the city till March 31. The government had shut the primary schools earlier this month; secondary classes were left open in view of exams.
There have been six confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Delhi so far.
Late Thursday night, the Union Health Ministry confirmed the country’s first COVID-19 linked death – a 76-year-old man who had returned from Saudi Arabia last month.
More than 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection have been confirmed by the Union Health Ministry so far, including 17 foreigners in isolation in Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. More than 11 lakh people have been screened at airports across the country.
As part of its response, the government has shut borders to existing visas – except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment and project – till April 15.
The COVID-19 outbreak originated in a food market in China’s Wuhan district in December last year and has, so far, killed more than 4,500 people while infecting 100,000 more.
The World Health Organisation has declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, meaning it has spread worldwide and affected huge number of people.
In a series of tweets, the WHO said it was “deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity (of the virus), and by the alarming levels of inaction”.