The rest of the NBA's 2019-2020 season has been suspended indefinitely, the league announced Wednesday night. It follows Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert testing positive for the coronavirus, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. The postponement of Wednesday night's Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game preceded the suspension of the entire season.
"The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice," the league's statement read. "The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic."
Wednesday's Jazz-Thunder match was shelved 30 minutes after the game was set to begin, and thousands had packed Oklahoma's Chesapeake Energy Arena. After increasing concerns about coronavirus' spread, and rumors that the remainder of the season would play out in empty arenas, it was the first game to be officially canceled. The season was scheduled to last until June.
Following Gobert's testing positive to coronavirus, the players on both teams are being quarantined in the Oklahoma arena, reports ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The NBA confirmed Gobert has tested positive, but said the player was not at the arena on Wednesday night.
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It could be the first of many sporting shutdowns, with concerns already mounting over the fate of the NFL draft, the remaining NHL season and WWE's WrestleMania 36, which is expected to pack Tampa, Florida's 65,000-seat Raymond James Stadium.
The news of the League's cancelation makes for a surreal Wednesday night, as it came shortly after Tom Hanks revealed via Instagram post that he and his wife Rita have tested positive for coronavirus.
"What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed," he wrote, explaining that the couple tested positive while filming in Australia's Gold Coast. "We Hanks' will be tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We'll keep the world posted and updated."
After infecting over 121,000 and causing more than 4,300 deaths, the coronavirus outbreak was declared to be a pandemic on Wednesday by the World Health Organization. The WHO has in the past defined a pandemic as "the worldwide spread of a new disease." The coronavirus, which causes the illness COVID-19, spread to over 110 countries within three months. On Jan. 30, the WHO announced the coronavirus outbreak was a "public health emergency of international concern" around the time almost 8,000 cases had been confirmed across 18 countries and the death toll was approaching 200.
Also on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced new travel restrictions that prohibit travel from Europe to the US.