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Jakarta Post

Volleyball league Proliga to limit contact between athletes, supporters to guard against coronavirus

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Fri, March 6, 2020   /   05:10 pm
Volleyball league Proliga to limit contact between athletes, supporters to guard against coronavirus Men's volleyball quarterfinal match between Indonesia and South Korea in the indoor tennis stadium in Senayan, Jakarta, on Aug. 28, 2018. (The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana)

The committee of Indonesia's top-tier volleyball league, Proliga, has decided to limit interactions between athletes, supporters and journalists during this year's competition over concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Proliga 2020 is set to proceed with its second leg at the GOR C-Tra Arena in Bandung, starting on Friday and running until Sunday, and is expected to attract large crowds of spectators.

Supporters and journalists were therefore expected to follow certain procedures to enter the arena and comply with certain restrictions throughout the matches, Proliga 2020 committee head Tachyan Iskandar said.

"The players will also be restricted in their contacts with supporters," Tachyan said in a press briefing on Thursday.

He said that the restriction was suggested by the government and announced by the Indonesian Volleyball Association (PBVSI).

Read also: Table tennis world team championships postponed over virus

The association had also suggested the committee provide hand sanitizers at several locations in the arena and to install thermal scanners at the entrance gate, Tachyan said, although he admitted that the scanners were difficult to obtain.

The Proliga committee was also required to provide a minimum of four changing rooms for the competing teams, he added.

Ayi Subarna, the manager of BJB Tandamata, the Bandung women's team, said its members had been made aware of the COVID-19 precautionary measures, which included a procedure for all competing teams to be immediately brought to their respective changing rooms -- which had limited access and were equipped with antiseptic cleaners -- every time they arrived at the venue.

BJB Tandamata had also cancelled the participation of a player from China and replaced her with a Brazilian athlete, Dayse Cristine de Oliveira Figueiredo.

The team's captain, Aprilia Manganang, said the measures would not affect their performance, adding that her team would still work hard to earn points and entertain supporters.

The precautionary measures were introduced after Indonesia confirmed its first two COVID-19 cases on March 2, raising public concerns of a further spread of the coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan city of China in late December, in the archipelago.

Read also: Indonesia switches focus to Tokyo Olympics after ASEAN Para Games postponed due to coronavirus

Authorities around the world, including in Indonesia's capital Jakarta, have ordered limits to events that attract large crowds as part of the efforts to contain the virus, which has spread to at least 76 countries and infected almost 100,000 people to date.

Many have also warned against shaking hands to prevent possible infection.

The second leg of Proliga 2020 is to be a reunion for last year's two women's team finalists, Jakarta PGN Popsivo Polwan and Jakarta Pertamina Energi, as well as the men's team titleholder Surabaya Bhayangkara Semator and last season's finalist, Jakarta BNI 46.

Proliga deputy director Reginald Nelwan said that each team would perform with their best players, including their foreign players, to secure a position in the final.