Canceled: Coronavirus Pandemic Shuts Down Travel, Events, and NBA Season

With the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declaring the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, it’s leading to the cancellation of travel and events around the globe, including the NBA season, and some say this is only the beginning – life is going to change significantly.

a basketball sitting on an empty court, with a full stadium of people in the background
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WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic, US testing lags

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus to be a pandemic, finally acknowledging what seemed clear to many for some time now, that the virus is likely to spread to all countries, as well as continue to infect increasing numbers of people.

At the time of the WHO announcement, 114 countries had reported cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, known as SARS-CoV2.

For weeks in the United States, state and local laboratories have been unable to test for the virus.

Slightly more than 1,000 cases in the US have been diagnosed so far, and at least 29 people have died.

NBA suspends season after player tests positive for coronavirus

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it is suspending the season after a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive on Wednesday for the coronavirus.

“The NBA is suspending gameplay following the conclusion of [Wednesday’s] schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement, adding, “the NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The positive test results led to the suspension of the game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder just before tipoff on Wednesday, when Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 before game time.

Trump suspends travel from Europe to the US

President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the US is banning travel from 26 European countries in order to reduce the potential of spreading the coronavirus to Americans. The new rules will go into effect on Friday at midnight EDT.

In particular, the ban affects travelers from countries that are members of the Schengen border-free travel area.

Some European travelers not banned

The US travel ban on European travelers does not apply to citizens from the UK, Ireland, and other non-Schengen countries. US citizens are also exempt, and able to return to the country.

While Ireland is exempt, the country has closed all schools and colleges to help combat the outbreak there.

EU condemns US ban

The European Union (EU) condemned the measures taken by President Trump saying they were enacted “unilaterally and without consultation.”

Italy closes all shops except pharmacies and food outlets, following 200 deaths in 24 hours

Italy, where the coronavirus has run rampant, has announced it will be closing all stores with the exception of pharmacies and food outlets.

Italy also confirmed that the country experienced nearly 200 deaths over a twenty-four hour period.

California Governor: Public gatherings should be canceled

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) released a statement saying that all public gatherings should be canceled, at least until the end of March, due to the spread of coronavirus.

Newsom is advocating for the cancellation of all nonessential gatherings of over 250 people, while saying that smaller events should only proceed if people are able to distance themselves from one another by at least 6 feet.

In the statement, Newsom’s policy defined a “gathering” as including spaces such as meeting halls, cafeterias, stadiums, arenas, and any other indoor or outdoor space.

“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know,” Newsom said in a statement. “Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now.”

“The people in our lives who are most at risk — seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice,” Newsom added.

The state of California has seen 181 cases of coronavirus so far, which have resulted in four deaths.