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KBO to require COVID-19 tests for all spring training participants

Sports 11:37 January 21, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean baseball league will require all participants of upcoming spring training to be tested for the novel coronavirus, with only those receiving negative results allowed to take part.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) unveiled its COVID-19 safety and health protocols on Thursday, 11 days prior to the start of spring training for its 10 clubs.

In this file photo from Sept. 1, 2020, members of the Hanwha Eagles enter Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul for a mandatory temperature check ahead of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game against the Doosan Bears. (Yonhap)

Because of international travel restrictions, all KBO teams will stay in South Korea for spring training this year, rather than moving to warmer parts of the United States or Japan. Some clubs will stay in or close to their home cities, while others will fly south to Jeju Island or Busan.

The KBO will require negative results from players, coaches, trainers, front office staffers and all others who will stay on site and come in close contact with the team.

Teams must submit the list of personnel subject to testing by next Monday, and then submit test results by Jan. 30.

Only the tests taken after next Monday will be considered valid, the KBO said.

The KBO will also recommend family members of players be tested to prevent the spread of the virus. However, foreign players in the league will not be subject to mandatory testing. Upon arriving in South Korea, they must undergo 14-day quarantine and must test negative for COVID-19 before they can be released, which negates the need to submit negative results to the league office.

This file photo from Sept. 8, 2020, shows members of the NC Dinos wearing masks after a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game against the Lotte Giants at Changwon NC Park in Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Once they're tested, spring training participants will be encouraged not to come in contact with people outside their immediate family until the start of spring training.

During spring training, teams will be required to check temperatures of all participants at both their hotels and training site.

Once exhibition games get under way, players and coaches will be required to wear masks at all times, except when they're on the field for practices and games.

The KBO also asked players to adhere to social distancing rules currently in place nationwide, and to immediately report to their clubs if they develop symptoms associated with COVID-19.


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