The following are the latest updates and information regarding the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) announced Wednesday evening:
– President Donald Trump, in an address to the Nation, announced the he is suspending all travel from Europe to U.S. for the next 30 days, effective Friday at midnight. President Trump also said officials will review the restrictions as the situation progresses, and could lift them early. The Department of Homeland Security gave further specifics on the order later Wednesday, saying it pertained to most foreign nationals who had been in certain countries at any point 14 days before their arrival in the U.S. It did not apply to legal permanent U.S. residents, immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and some other individuals. Countries covered by the restrictions included: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
– The National Basketball Association (NBA) has suspended its season indefinitely, the league announced Wednesday night. This comes after Utah Jazz star center Rudy Gobert preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. “The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena,” NBA Communications wrote. “At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player (Gobert) was not in the arena.” NBA games will be suspended “until further notice.” The league added they will use the hiatus “to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
– Actor Tom Hanks, and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, have both tested positive for coronavirus. Hanks posted the news Wednesday night on social media. He said they are in Australia, and both felt tired and achy, while Wilson also had slight fevers and chills. “To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive,” Hanks wrote. He said they are following protocols set forth by medical officials,and will be observed and isolated. “Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach,” he wrote. According to Daily Mail, Hanks arrived in Australia in late January to work on an Elvis Presley biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann.
– The Big 12 has announced they will be limiting the amount of fans they will let in to watch games starting Thursday. According to Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, they will only allow 125 tickets per team. They will also be clearing the area between games, and not allow spirit squads or pep bands. Bowlsby said it’s to minimize the number of people in the arena due to the Coronavirus.
– The NCAA will hold it’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, better known as March Madness, without fans amid coronavirus concerns, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, Emmert wrote: “The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.” He continued, “While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. This decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, most importantly, our student-athletes.” This comes in response to the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recommendation advising against holding sporting events with fans Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, the panel wrote in part: “…we recommend against sporting events open to the public. We do believe sport events can take place with only essential personnel and limited family attendance, and this protects our players, employees, and fans.”
– The University of Kansas announced Wednesday night that it would delay its return to in-person classes over concerns of COVID-19. According to a post on coronavirus.ku.edu, faculty will use next week, March 16 to 22, to prepare for a transition to offering their courses entirely online. Beginning March 23, courses will be taught remotely using online tools. “We anticipate needing to stay online for several weeks, however, our team will reassess the need to continue remote-only instruction each week, starting March 28,” their post read. “This approach limits in-person exposure after spring break to align with the estimated COVID-19 incubation period, and allows faculty members a modest amount of time to prepare and begin the transition to online instruction.”
– The American Athletic Conference announced Wednesday night that it is limiting access to the conference tournament which begins Thursday. Commissioner Mike Aresco said the 2020 Air Force Reserve Men’s Basketball Championship in Fort Worth, Texas, will limit attendance to student-athletes, coaches, essential event, team and conference staff. ESPN personnel, credentialed media and immediate family members of the 12 participating teams will also be allowed inside Dickies Arena. “We and the Dickies Arena staff have been monitoring the COVID-19 virus situation in conjunction with local health authorities,” said Aresco. “Our top priority is always the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, university administrators and personnel, media event staff and fans.”
– Special Olympics Kansas has canceled the following events due to COVID-19: 2020 State Basketball and Cheerleading Tournaments scheduled for March 14-15 in Topeka and March 20-21 in Hays. All Young Athletes Programs scheduled for March 9-23. All local team practices scheduled for March 9-23. KU Unified Basketball Championship game scheduled for March 19.
– The University of Michigan and The Ohio State University are among the programs that have canceled their annual spring football games, as schools around the country continue to strategize around the coronavirus outbreak. In a broad news release announcing several layers of cancellations and adjustments, Michigan announced that it won’t play its scrimmage scheduled for April 18 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It also announced Wednesday that all third-party competitions and events scheduled in and on its athletic facilities through April 21 are canceled. Outside events scheduled after April 21, the school said, will be addressed on a case-by-case basis or until further guidance is available, and the school will “work proactively with all groups on refunds.”
– The XFL has announced that this Sunday’s scheduled game between the Los Angeles Wildcats and the Seattle Dragons will be played as scheduled, but no fans will be admitted to the game. The game, which is set to kickoff at 6 p.m. CDT at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, will be broadcast live on ESPN2.