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Sports grind to a halt as Coronavirus tightens grip

By Fred Kaweesi

Added 19th March 2020 03:55 PM

Confirmed novel coronavirus cases have crossed 200,000, while more than 8,000 deaths have been reported across the world.

Sports grind to a halt as Coronavirus tightens grip

President Museveni juggles the ball at Namboole stadium. File Photo

Confirmed novel coronavirus cases have crossed 200,000, while more than 8,000 deaths have been reported across the world.

Coronavirus continues to rock the world with devastating effects.

Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 viral disease a pandemic, a number of countries have been forced to either shut-down or institute stringent measures to avert its spread.

And Uganda is no exception.

In his state-of-the-nation address on coronavirus at state house on Wednesday, President Yoweri Museveni announced tough measures that should avert the pandemic. This included suspending sports activities in the country for a month.

While identifying concerts, sports as vulnerable areas for infection, Museveni stated: "The next frontline of fighting the virus is to stop the merry-making ─ the discos, the dances, bars, sports, music shows, cinemas and concerts.  These are very dangerous gathering points with the virus around."

Confirmed novel coronavirus cases have crossed 200,000, while more than 8,000 deaths have been reported across the world.

Besides Russia, Africa has not reported any (or many) cases of COVID-19.

Of the 54 countries in Africa, there have only been 253 cases out of the 167,519 cases worldwide.

"The percentage of Ebola deaths was at 67%. So far, that of coronavirus is at 3%, he adds. So it does not kill on a wide scale," he reasoned.

However, government's position to suspend sports activities stems from the fact that a majority of the sports disciplines involves physical contact for both athletes and fans.

"It (the virus) enters the body through the soft parts of the body - the nose, the eyes and the mouth. It cannot go through an intact skin," he added.

"If an infected person sneezes out or coughs and you are near and that watery breath gets into your nostrils or eyes, you will get infected."

As the number of cases continue to grow despite increasingly strict quarantine measures, experts are warning that life across the globe will face severe disruption for many months.

Besides the United States of America, a number of countries in Europe -the epicenter of COVID-19 -have since declared states of emergency and either suspended or cancelled all sports events.

Hours after UEFA decided to postpone Euro 2020, South America's Copa America was also moved to 2021 while the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) has been postponed indefinitely.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had earlier decided to postpone the 2021 Nations Cup qualifiers (March 25-31), FIFA Women's U-20 World Cup Qualifiers (March 20-22) and Women's Nations Cup qualifiers (April 8-14).

All this after domestic football leagues had already been undermined by the virus.

On Wednesday, South Africa became the ninth African country to have its football league suspended after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a ban on public gatherings.

Other countries that have suspended football competitions officially are Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, DRC, Gabon, Algeria, Ghana and Sudan.

Football's world governing body FIFA rescheduled its 70th Congress that was scheduled for May 2020 at the African Union's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The event was moved to September in Addis Ababa.

Besides our local-based sportsmen, below is a list of Ugandan sportsmen that have been rendered inactive globally.

Africa

DR Congo: Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe)

Egypt: Khalid Aucho (Misr Lel Makkasa), Abdul Lumala (Pyramids), Emmanuel Okwi (Ittihad Alexandria),Tadeo Lwanga (Tanta), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha) and Allan Kyambadde (El Gouna)

Morocco:  Murushid Jjuuko (Wydad Casablanca), Patrick Henry Kaddu (RS Berkane), Nelson Senkatuka (Moghreb Tetouan)

Algeria: Allan Okello (Paradou AC)

South Africa: Denis Onyango (Sundowns) and Moses Waiswa (SuperSport)

Europe

Scotland: Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell)

Israel: Luwagga Kizito (Hapoel Kfar Saba)

Albania: Godfrey Walusimbi (KF Vllaznia)

France: Phillip Wokorach (Bourges XV)

England: Mary Nuba (Loughborough Lightning)

Turkey: Farouk Miya (Konyaspor)

America

Mike Aziira (Chicago Fire)

Golfers Ronald Otile, Joel Basalaine, Titus Okwong, Daniel Baguma and Collins Ajidra.

Australia: Peace Proscovia (sunshine coast lightning)


 

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