Major League Baseball delayed the start of the season for at least two weeks and canceled spring training games beginning Thursday to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement from the league.
“MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic,” the statement said.
The baseball season had been scheduled to begin on March 26.
The move follows a call with all 30 major league clubs and after consultation with the players association, according to the statement.
“This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, clubs and our millions of loyal fans,” the statement said.
“MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days,” according to the statement.
Late Wednesday, the NBA suspended play after two basketball players for the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus.
The National Hockey League has also suspended play.
The NCAA has said its annual March Madness basketball tournament will be played without fans.
Late Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced he was halting all travel from parts of Europe to the U.S. for 30-days in a bid to combat the "foreign virus."
The cascading impacts of the fast-spreading coronavirus continued to hit Wall Street hard Thursday, as the Dow lost more than 2,000 points, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each fell more than 8%, into bear market territory.