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With international series in the distance, Cardinals, MLB 'monitoring' coronavirus, taking precautions now

With international series in the distance, Cardinals, MLB 'monitoring' coronavirus, taking precautions now

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Tomoyuki Sugano of the Yomiuri Giants pitches with a backdrop of empty stands during play in a preseason baseball game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. Japan's professional baseball league said Thursday it will play its 72 remaining preseason games in empty stadiums because of the threat of the spreading coronavirus. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

JUPITER, Fla. — With the Cardinals and Cubs preparing to jet abroad for the London Series in June, Major League Baseball has not made any alternations to that plan but is “monitoring” the spread of the coronavirus and any travel restrictions or concerns it will create, an official with the commissioner’s office said.

The global concern for the virus that has halted travel, quarantined vacationers, shutdown museums and spread feverishly has also impacted baseball. In Japan games have been played in front of empty stadiums, and in Korea exhibition games have been canceled. The Boston Red Sox have quarantined a prospect from Taiwan, according to The Boston Globe. On Sunday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) delivered an executive order that declared a public health emergency for the state due to what reports have called two “presumptively positive” diagnoses of the coronavirus.

The Cardinals have taken precautions at their spring camp, which has drawn international attention, visitors, and media to see pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim, of Korea.

“We are staying on top of this and will use the commissioner’s office as well the government to keep us informed,” wrote John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, in an email. “We are also making sure everyone in camp is washing their hands as well as making hand sanitizers more readily available. We will continue to follow best practices but also brainstorm on this topic.”

For its course of action and instruction to member clubs, Major League Baseball is consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the federal Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The coronavirus, which surfaced an epidemic in China in December, is now present on every continent save Antarctica, according to an update from The New York Times. It is believed that around 90,000 people have been infected, and there have been more than 3,000 deaths. Korea has had 4,000 cases of the virus, and in the nation’s capital the mayor has urged people to avoid public spaces and when possible work from home. The CDC has listed South Korea as a Level 3 travel risk and to “avoid nonessential travel” due to the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19, or coronavirus.

The United States has had two confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, and there have been the first official diagnoses in New York, Rhode Island, and the ones in Florida that prompted the governor’s declaration. There have been travelers quarantined in hotels and on cruise ships.

The European Union elevated its risk assessment of the coronavirus from “moderate to high,” according to the BBC. And during an interview on the British news network, an official for Public Health England said widespread infection in the United Kingdom is “now highly likely.”

The Cardinals and Cubs are scheduled to play a two-game series in London on June 13-14 at London Stadium. The visit is MLB’s second to London after the Red Sox and Yankees played a two-game series there this past season. The Cardinals gave up two home games at Busch Stadium to participate in the international showcase, their second in as many seasons. This past summer, the Cardinals traveled to Monterrey, Mexico, for a series against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals are scheduled to travel to London from New York on June 10, and as part of the London Series both teams will have an off day there on June 12.

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