NZNBL being proactive against coronavirus, making all international players self-isolate before playing

The New Zealand National Basketball League has implemented coronavirus precautions ahead of the start of its season, enforcing a stand-down period for all players who arrive from overseas.

Gareth Dawson of the Rams Source: Photosport

General manager Justin Nelson said with sporting leagues cancelling or suspending globally, the NZNBL hopes being proactive will help protect both their competition and the community.

The NBL expects more than 50 players to arrive from overseas for this year's competition and all will have to self-isolate to the current threat of the Covid-19 virus.

The measure is being taken because the NBL fears one positive test from a player or staff could halt the league - much like Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert's has done for the NBA in the US.

"The health and safety of our players, coaches and team staff is paramount, particularly at this time during our preparations for the coming season," Nelson said.

"But it is also a business decision. We have seen other sports around the world suspending all activity when a player has been diagnosed with COVID-19. If a case was brought into the NBL community, it would affect the league's ability to play games.

"The ramifications of that possibility are significant, and we are taking this very-real threat seriously.

"It appears New Zealand is fortunate that cases have been kept to a minimum and people appear to be following self-isolation requests if they feel unwell.

"In the current climate we may still be able to play a full season and broadcast all games. We are making this call to try and protect that," Nelson said.

The NZNBL season begins on April 9.