Millennium Post

BCCI defers IPL till April 15

New Delhi: Two days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday postponed the Indian Premier League 2020 by two weeks and said there is a possibility of the tournament being played behind closed doors.

The decision has been taken after India implemented visa restrictions till April 15 to contain the spread of Coronavirus. With the visa restrictions in place, it will not be possible for the overseas players to join the IPL. Earlier, according to reports, the franchises had stated that they were ready to play behind closed doors but not without their overseas players. The inaugural match was scheduled in Mumbai on 29 March.

All stakeholders in the IPL have devised a formula so that there is no reduction in the number of matches. The postponement will also allow the foreign players to join the IPL from the start of the tournament.

The BCCI on Friday decided to reschedule the remaining two matches of the ODI series against South Africa. As a result of this, the two matches scheduled to be played in Lucknow and Kolkata now stand cancelled. India on Friday reported a total of 82 confirmed cases, including 10 recovered cases and 17 foreign nationals and one who died on Thursday. As the cases have continued to rise, the states have taken precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

India reported its second casualty due to Coronavirus on Friday with the Health Ministry saying a 68-year-old woman, whose son with a travel history abroad had tested positive, died in Delhi.

The death was caused due to co-morbidity (diabetes and hypertension), it said, adding she had tested positive for COVID-19.

She was admitted in Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, officials said.

After Kerala, Haryana and Delhi, the government of Uttar Pradesh, which has reported 11 positive cases including one foreigner, has declared the Coronavirus an epidemic. With this, an order has been issued to close all schools and colleges till March 22.

Similarly, the Maharashtra government has also declared COVID-19 an epidemic, but malls and theatres will remain open in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Pimpri-Chinchwad districts.

The Bihar government, which has not yet reported any positive cases of Coronavirus, announced on Friday that all schools and colleges will remain closed till March 31. As per a letter issued by Aamir Subhani, Additional Chief Secretary, it has been stated that the Bihar Divas celebration, which was proposed to be held on March 22, would now not be held and a new date for the event would be announced later.

The Bihar government has also announced the closure of all parks, zoos, suspension of distribution of mid-day meals, cancellation of every kind of celebration, including sporting and cultural activities.

Taking note of global pandemic COVID-19, the Supreme Court has decided that only urgent matters shall be taken up for hearing and no persons except concerned lawyers will be allowed inside its courtrooms.

The second batch of 44 Indian pilgrims has arrived from Iran, said External Affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday. An Iran Air flight carrying Indian pilgrims stranded in Coronavirus-hit Iran landed at the airport in Mumbai on Friday afternoon.

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