Coronavirus: MLB delays opening day by at least two weeks

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Major League Baseball has announced a minimum two-week delay to the start of its 2020 season as part of measures introduced in response to the spread of coronavirus.

All 30 MLB teams were due to begin their campaigns on March 26.

The league has also cancelled spring training games as of 16:00 Eastern Time (20:00 GMT) on Thursday, while the 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Tucson, Arizona has been postponed indefinitely.

"MLB and the clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule," a statement read.

"MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.

"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts.

"We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus."

The NBA suspended the season on Wednesday after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, while the NHL has followed suit in light of the numerous facilities shared by the United States' premiere basketball and ice hockey leagues.

The NFL's annual meeting scheduled for March 29 to April 1 has been cancelled and a succession of teams have followed Washington Redskins' lead in suspending coach and scout travel until further notice.