No suspected cases of COVID-19 among PBA teams, Marcial says

As other international leagues tallied new cases of players affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), PBA commissioner Willie Marcial assured that the league is also monitoring its own during the calendar suspension.

Marcial said that while the league has not had any suspected cases yet, procedures have been set in place as soon as a player or any member of an organization exhibits any symptoms.

"We handed out guidelines to all teams saying that if anyone has a fever or any other symptom, they should immediately tell their team doctor," Marcial said in Filipino during a phone call.

"But teams haven't told me anything yet. I'm in contact through Viber will all team governors every day, and they don't have anything at the moment," he added. "I hope no one catches it."

In the NBA, Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics and two players from the Los Angeles Lakers tested positive Thursday morning (Manila time), just hours after three members of the Philadelphia 76ers and one from the Denver Nuggets confirmed cases of their own.

Prior to these reports, Brooklyn's Kevin Durant, Detroit's Christian Wood and Utah's Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were all confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.

The disease has also made its way to the NFL, too, as New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton bared that he tested positive.

While the PBA appears to be spared at the moment, Marcial expressed support over some players' initiative to raise awareness and said that the league continues to hope for the best in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

"You could see our players on social media telling other people to not go out of their houses and sharing protocols laid out by the Department of Health (DOH)," he said. "Look at (Barangay Ginebra's) LA Tenorio and other stars, they even sang their rendition of 'Heal the World'."

"For now -- and I really hope it stays that way -- there aren't any suspected cases. Even in the PBA family and among members of the media, I haven't heard any news. Let's hope that continues."

All league activities, including practices and scrimmages, have already been suspended until further notice, or while the entire mainland of Luzon is placed under community quarantine until Apr. 12.

As of posting time, the DOH has recorded 217 affected cases and 17 casualties, though there have been eight recoveries.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, and those with more severe illness might take three to six weeks to recover.