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(LEAD) 2 baseball clubs halt training over coronavirus concerns

All Headlines 16:14 March 24, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with latest case, new info)

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- Two South Korean baseball clubs halted their offseason training on Tuesday over coronavirus concerns.

The Doosan Bears canceled their practice Tuesday after learning that a player had been in secondary contact with a coronavirus patient.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) team said a family member of the player had come in direct contact with the COVID-19 patient at work, and that relative is awaiting test results.

In the meantime, all Doosan players have been asked to self-isolate at home.

Later Tuesday, the Kia Tigers stopped their practice midway through after one player developed a fever. As a precautionary measure, the player will be tested for COVID-19, and his teammates have been sent home for isolation.

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced the KBO to scrap all preseason games and delay the start of the regular season. It was slated to start this Saturday, and now the league announced Tuesday the season will not begin before April 20.

There haven't been any confirmed COVID-19 cases among KBO players, coaches or employees, but a handful of teams have had stop-and-gos because of earlier scares. The Bears also had to suspend their training on March 16 after learning that their minor league team had been on the same flight home from Taiwan as a Kiwoom Heroes minor leaguer who exhibited a fever. The player tested negative the following day, and both the Bears and the Heroes resumed training immediately.

The Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization hold an intrasquad scrimmage at an empty Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on March 23, 2020. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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