Despite coronavirus, MLB season to start on time: Report

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to speak with owners about coronavirus Monday

Major League Baseball is expected to start its 2020 season as scheduled later this month despite complications and precautionary action related to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will hold a conference call with the 30 team owners on Monday afternoon to discuss measures related to the coronavirus. At present, league officials are not expected to make any alterations to the 2020 schedule or order that games be played without fans present, The Athletic reported. MLB opening day is March 26.

In a separate notice, MLB issued an advisory informing reporters that it has not made any changes to media access for the 2020 season. However, league officials asked any individual who has visited a “high-risk area” for the coronavirus outbreak within the last 14 days to avoid MLB facilities.

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“We are also discussing additional measures internally and with other leagues,” MLB said in a statement. “At this time, we have not made changes to our media access procedures, and we will advise if we determine to take such steps.”

Like many other professional sports leagues, MLB has taken precautionary action to protect its players and employees from coronavirus. League officials are in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

MLB established a working group across several departments to coordinate the coronavirus response. All 30 MLB teams have a point person leading their efforts.

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As of late last week, MLB officials were not planning any changes to the 2020 slate of games outside the continental U.S., including two games in Mexico scheduled for April and two games in London scheduled for June.

While MLB teams are proceeding as if the season will begin March 26 as planned, league officials are actively discussing contingency plans, according to The Athletic.

U.S. authorities have reported more than 550 individual cases of coronavirus across 34 states. At least 21 Americans have died from the virus as of Monday.

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