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Major League Baseball is updating its coronavirus safety measures after a 17th player on the Miami Marlins tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday – less than a week after all 30 clubs opened a shortened, delayed season in empty stadiums.

The outbreak, which first came to light on Monday after the team played a three-game series on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies, prompted MLB to postpone all Marlins games through at least Sunday amid doubts the team will be able to reopen its season as planned Tuesday at home.

The Marlins, who have quarantined in Philadelphia since Monday, could face another mandated self-isolation under Miami regulations depending on their travel before returning to Florida.

In the wake of the outbreak, the commissioner’s office has reportedly ordered all teams to use surgical masks instead of cloth ones, encouraged players not to leave hotels in road cities except for games and mandated every club to travel with a virus protocol compliance officer to ensure rules are followed.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, expressed concern over the outbreakwhen asked about it during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday morning:

This could put it in danger. I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis.

The Phillies said Thursday there were no positive results among players from Wednesday’s testing.

Two members of the club’s backroom staff, however, did test positive, leading to the postponement of this weekend’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays and the cancellation of all activities at the team’s home ground.

The pandemic had already forced MLB to delay and truncate the familiar 162-game, six-month season to a 60-game, 67-day sprint with a number of rule changes designed to speed up the game and protect the players and umpires.

About a dozen major leaguers have opted out of the season entirely, citing the health risks stemming from Covid-19.

Others who are playing, like Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle, have expressed hesitationover the enterprise as case numbers continue to surge throughout the country. On 5 July Doolittle said:

We’re trying to bring baseball back during a pandemic that’s killed 130,000 people. We’re way worse off as a country than we were in March when we shut this thing down.

And, like, look where the other developed countries are in their response to this. We haven’t done any of the things that other countries have done to bring sports back.

Sports are like the reward of a functioning society. And we’re trying to just bring it back, even though we’ve taken none of the steps to flatten the curve.

Read the original article at The Guardian

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