The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) said Thursday that 18 wrestlers from the Tamanoi stable had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, resulting in the entire stable sitting out the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament starting this weekend.

Sumo elder Shibatayama, the JSA's director of communications, assured fans, however, that the 15-day tournament starting Sunday at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo would go ahead as scheduled in spite of the outbreak.

One wrestler from the Tamanoi stable had already tested positive on Saturday, bringing the total infected to 19. The JSA said all 28 members of the stable, including its stablemaster and former ozeki Tochiazuma, would skip the Autumn meet to prevent the spread of the virus.