Madras High Court, on Thursday, asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to respond to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking cancellation of the Indian Premier League (IPL) due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.
The PIL was filed by advocate G Alex Benziger and it stated that the virus was spreading all over the world rapidly and creating a huge epidemic disaster. The PIL cited the decision to stop all matches in Italy following the outbreak of the virus in the country. The petitioner said he had sent a representation to authorities not to allow the BCCI to conduct IPL T20 cricket matches.
Madras HC's order came at a time when a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court of India to ban the cricket tournament. The SC denied an urgent hearing of the case and stated that the case was not 'urgent' and that it can be heard when the court reopens after vacation for Holi.
Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted BCCI sources and stated that no foreign player will be available for this year's IPL till April 15 due to visa restrictions imposed by the government.
The developments take place as Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday announced that at least one person who attended the ICC Women's T20 World Cup finals on March 8 has been tested positive for coronavirus.
On Wednesday evening, the Union Government announced that all existing visas, barring diplomatic, UN/International Organisations, employment and project visas, will stand suspended till April 15, 2020.
This advisory also applies for people with visa-free travel, and to OCI cardholders, whose visa-free access will be temporarily suspended with effect from March 13, 2020. However, the statement mentioned that any foreign national who intends to travel to India for any compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Embassy for further clarity or guidance.
More than 62 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in India. The official numbers have stopped being updated by the Central government. No deaths have been reported so far in India.
Globally, around 4,600 people have died due to Coronavirus, with the epicentre being in China. The virus has infected around 1,26,000 people globally and has now spread to North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and to more than 100 other countries.