• Kyodo

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The Japan Sumo Association said Thursday all wrestlers and stablemasters will undergo testing for the novel coronavirus ahead of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament scheduled to open this weekend.

The association said it will consult experts about its course of action for the 15-day meet starting Sunday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan after the results of the polymerase chain reaction tests are known.

Mongolian grand champion Hakuho tested positive for the virus on Tuesday and looks certain to miss the meet, as does the entire Arashio stable, where a cluster of infections has been confirmed.

Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures were placed under a state of emergency Thursday in response to an alarming increase in coronavirus infections.

“We’ve decided to take the tests, putting the safety and security of the fans first. It is to heighten the level of trust,” JSA communications director Shibatayama said.

Testing kits will be delivered to all stables starting Thursday and will be retrieved the following day.

The JSA said Tuesday it is planning to admit up to 5,000 fans for the first two days and up to around 5,300 — around half the capacity of Ryogoku Kokugikan — from the third day onward.

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