Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that the sports ministry has issued an advisory on Thursday advising all National Federations to refrain from conducting tournaments and selection trials till April 15 besides asking them to ensure that Olympic-bound athletes are isolated from anyone who is not a part of their training camp.
Speaking to reporters he said, "Today, we have issued another fresh order from the ministry that all the sports events, all the training centres will remain closed till April 15th. We have also ensured that no athletes or technical staff like coaches and other staff will travel from one place to another place which will lead to contact with other people. Any mass gathering in any situation is completely prohibited."
He added, "Our training centres, including the hostels, are closed. We have given exceptions only to those who have qualified for the Olympics. Those athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics and those who are on the verge of qualification, they are very very critical because if they miss their training or their qualification practice, then it will have a huge impact on our Tokyo Olympics. Only these athletes and coaches are allowed to train in the designated national camps. Outsiders are prohibited and strict guidelines are being issued."
The directive has been necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc on sporting events across the globe. The fresh advisory puts a question mark on the upcoming Indian Grand Prix of athletics that is to be held on Friday.
The total number of reported novel coronavirus cases in India crossed 180 after 11 new cases emerged from different parts of the country on Thursday. As per the Union Health Ministry, over 5,700 people, who had come in contact with these positive cases, continue to be under rigorous surveillance.
The Home Ministry on Wednesday said India has temporarily banned the entry of passengers from 36 countries while people travelling from 11 countries will be mandatorily quarantined in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Globally, the virus has infected more than 184,000 people and killed more than 7500, as per the data available on the World Health Organisation website.