Baseball-MLB tightens coronavirus guidelines after positive tests -CNN

Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Aug 6 (Reuters) - Major League Baseball (MLB) has tightened its health and safety protocols in an attempt to salvage the season after a series of positive coronavirus tests in recent days, CNN reported, citing a memo from the league.

Teams will have to reduce the size of travelling parties, players and staff must wear face coverings at all times unless alone in their rooms, and the rules now ban meetings between individuals in hotel rooms.

The MLB's truncated 60-game season started last month but games involving at least eight teams have had to be postponed after members of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals tested positive for coronavirus.

Television broadcasts have shown players not social distancing, not wearing masks, high-fiving and spitting.

League commissioner Rob Manfred has warned the players' association that the season could be shut down, ESPN has reported.

The Marlins were the first to report an outbreak and local media report that 18 players and three staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus so far.

The MLB said in its memo, sent to clubs on Wednesday, that it changed its protocols after investigating how the virus spread within the Marlins travelling party.

"We recognize that these changes place additional burdens and restrictions on players and staff. But if we desire to play, they are necessary to limit infections and, if someone does test positive, to keep the virus from spreading," the memo said.

It asks players and staff to limit the amount of time they remove their masks to eat and drink and bans conversation at mealtimes.

Players and staff on the road are also barred from meeting in public areas in hotels or leaving the premises without permission from the club's compliance officer.

When at home they are banned from visiting bars, lounges, malls, or other places where large groups gather.

Individuals who refuse to comply with the guidelines could be banned for the season and post-season, the memo said.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)

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