March 3, 2020 / 1:09 AM / in a month

NBA: No high-fives with fans, only fist-bumps, players told as virus precaution

FILE PHOTO: Basketball - NBA - Washington Wizards v New York Knicks - The O2 Arena, London, Britain - January 17, 2019 General view inside the stadium during the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

(Reuters) - NBA players should fist-bump with fans instead of high-fiving them and avoid taking items to autograph, the league told teams in a memo listing short-term recommendations to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“The coronavirus remains a situation with the potential to change rapidly,” the league told its 30 teams in the memo obtained by Reuters and first reported on by ESPN.

“The NBA and the Players Association will continue to work with leading experts and team physicians to provide up-to-date information and recommended practices that should be followed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

The league said it is closely monitoring the situation and consulting with the Centers for Disease Control as well as experts including a renowned infectious disease researcher at Columbia University.

“The health and safety of NBA players, coaches, staff, and fans is paramount,” the memo said.

An escalation of the virus, which has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide since it emerged in China in December, could potentially threaten pre-draft combines, on-site workouts and international scouting events if it worsens, ESPN reported on Monday.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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