Basketball / B. League

Evessa player tests positive for COVID-19 in B. League first

by Kaz Nagatsuka

STAFF WRITER

A member of the Osaka Evessa has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, while several other players, club and arena staff have complained of sickness, the team announced on Thursday.

The club said the player, who has requested anonymity, was found to be positive for the virus on Wednesday, two days after receiving a PCR test.

The case is the first in the B. League.

According to the club, eight others, including players and officials connected to the team and Ookini Arena Maishima, where the Evessa play and practice, were "not feeling well," as of Thursday afternoon.

The club said the infected player recorded a fever above 37.5 degrees Celsius, considered a symptom of the virus, on Friday morning. The league announced it was canceling the rest of the 2019-20 season later that same day.

The player’s fever rose to 39.6 degrees Saturday night and he underwent a medical examination at an Osaka Prefecture hospital, where he was told he was negative for the virus.

He then underwent a PCR test on Monday, and reported that night feeling like something was wrong with his sense of smell. Another Evessa player experienced the same symptom on Tuesday.

The club said it has ordered all of its players, staff and arena officials to stay home. The player who tested positive for the virus was hospitalized on Thursday.

Naoki Yasui, the team president, said during a video news conference on Thursday that five players had dined with seven other people on March 24, but that the infected player was not among them. He said those five players began feeling ill afterwards.

Evessa general manager Tatsuya Abe said the team had told its players and officials to take care of themselves as best they could to prevent being infected.

“We have required our players to check their condition in ways that won't cause them to feel too much stress," Abe said. “But it’s regrettable that we have troubled those who are associated with our club, and our boosters.”

The case is the latest to involve a professional athlete in the Kansai region, with players from NPB's Hanshin Tigers and the J. League's Vissel Kobe having also tested positive recently. Yasui said there was no evidence of the Evessa players having any direct contact with those athletes.

Yasui said there was no evidence of the Evessa players having any direct contact with those athletes.

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