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Men's basketball league suspended due to coronavirus

20:44 February 29, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 29 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean professional men's basketball league will come to a screeching halt in the latest fallout from the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Korean Basketball League (KBL) announced Saturday that its regular season will be suspended indefinitely starting Sunday. Three games for Saturday were played as scheduled.

The decision was reached after a guest who stayed at the same hotel as a KBL team, the KCC Egis, in Jeonju, 240 kilometers south of Seoul, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

According to the Egis, no player came in contact with the patient during the team's stay, and no one on the team has reported any symptoms of infection.

This photo provided by the Korean Basketball League shows the home team SK Knights and ET Land Elephants playing a regular season game without spectators at Jamsil Students' Gymnasium in Seoul on Feb. 29, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

For precautionary reasons, Egis players and coaches will be quarantined inside their dormitory in Yongin, some 50 kilometers south of the capital.

KBL teams had been playing behind closed doors since Wednesday, in response to the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide. The Women's KBL (WKBL) and volleyball's V-League took the same steps, while football's K League postponed the start of its season and the Korea Baseball Organization canceled the entire preseason.

Three foreign players in the KBL -- Allen Durham and Byron Mullens for the KT Sonicboom and Boris Savovic of the Goyang Orion -- packed up and left South Korea this week over coronavirus fears, a development that coaches feared could lead to a mass exodus of other import players.

The KBL will convene an emergency board meeting Monday to discuss further steps. The regular season was scheduled to end March 31.

The WKBL may follow suit. It had one game Saturday and will have one game each on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday will be an off day.

This photo provided by the Korean Basketball League shows the home team SK Knights and ET Land Elephants playing a regular season game without spectators at Jamsil Students' Gymnasium in Seoul on Feb. 29, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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