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NBA and NHL say players can still travel after seasons suspended due to coronavirus – CNBC

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Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first period in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on April 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Patrick McDermott | National Hockey League | Getty Images

The National Hockey League has allowed players to travel outside of their team’s home city as the current season’s suspension continues due to the coronavirus.

The NHL said players can travel to other residences, including outside of North America, but requested they “continue to report immediately any symptoms or testing results” to teams’ medical staffs. The travel guidelines will last through and including March 27, the league said in statement.

“At the end of the self-quarantine period, and depending on world developments between now and then, consideration will be given to allowing the opening of club facilities to players in scheduled and coordinated small groups for voluntary training and care of the players on the same basis as the off-season,” the statement said.

The new guidelines come after National Basketball Association issued a memo lifting travel bans for its players. Both leagues decided to halt operations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

CNBC obtained a copy of the NBA’s memo, which advised players who travel to other locations outside of their team’s home city, to “stay in that city, remaining home as much as possible and limiting contact with others through social distancing.” 

The NBA became the first league to decide on suspending its games after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive for COVID-19. Gobert issued an apologize for spreading the virus, as Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell also tested positive, and donated $500,000 to the Jazz’s employee relief fund and coronavirus-related services.

Over the last week, the coronavirus outbreak has shuttered the much of the sports industry. U.S. leagues including Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and the PGA Tour, joined the NHL and NBA in pausing games as health officials continue to call for social distancing.

In a statement announcing its suspension of games, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league hope to “resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup.”

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people across the U.S. to cancel or postpone events with 50 or more attendees for the next eight weeks to try to contain the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic.

In the U.S., the virus has infected more than 3,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, and killed at least 69. You can follow live updates on the coronavirus here.

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