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Sick baseball player tests negative for coronavirus

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

The South Korean baseball league breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after an ill minor leaguer tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

The Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said the player, with their Futures League affiliate Goyang Heroes, will remain quarantined in his team dormitory for 14 days. Both Kiwoom and Goyang were forced to suspend all baseball activities on Monday, and will now resume training on Thursday.

The player, who remained unidentified, had a fever of 38.3 C when he was checked on Monday before entering the team's practice facility in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, just west of Seoul. The player was immediately tested at a nearby drive-through station.

Following the news of the player's test, another KBO club, Doosan Bears, also suspended practice. The Bears' minor league team shared the same Asiana chartered flight with the Kiwoom and Goyang Heroes on their way back from Chinese Taipei last week, with Goyang's ill player aboard. And some Doosan minor leaguers have come into contact with Doosan's KBO players during recent practice sessions.

Now that the player has tested negative, the Bears, too, will return to action on Thursday.

The KBO was also sitting on the edge of its seat, awaiting the test results. The league has already canceled the preseason and delayed the start of the regular season. The new season was supposed to start on March 28 but there's no word yet on when it will begin, as the KBO, like other sports leagues, is faced with more questions than answers in the nationwide battle against the virus.

The KBO is hoping to start the season by mid-April at the latest and still play the full 144 games in a compressed schedule.

Most KBO teams have returned home from their overseas spring training. With no preseason games scheduled, teams have been practicing at their home parks or out-of-town facilities, with occasional intrasquad games thrown in. In most cases, practice sessions have been open to the media, who are required to go through fever checks and fill out health questionnaires before entering team properties. (Yonhap)

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