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Report: NBA tells teams they could play games without fans due to coronavirus

Michelle Farsi / National Basketball Association / Getty

The NBA has issued a memo to teams instructing them to prepare for the possibility of playing games without fans in attendance due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania.

The league has also asked teams to identify "essential staff" should they need to play games without fans present, Charania adds.

Additionally, the NBA has informed franchises it could begin carrying out "temperature checks" on league and team personnel if the situation worsens, reports The New York Times' Marc Stein.

On Monday, the league recommended players give fans fist-bumps instead of high-fives and refuse to sign certain items as part of a short-term strategy amid the outbreak. A medical staff member for one team reportedly said any players who contract the coronavirus would be expected to miss two weeks.

The Basketball Africa League, a new joint venture by the NBA and FIBA that was set to commence March 13 in Senegal, was postponed indefinitely Tuesday due to fears over COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus. A new start date for the 12-team competition has yet to be announced.

In Italy, all sporting events have been ordered to be held behind closed doors until at least April 3. The European nation is among the countries dealing with the most significant COVID-19 outbreaks, along with Iran and China.

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