By Staff Writer
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The world of sport has ground to a halt during this pandemic. That’s one of the biggest global changes to occur, and it’s affecting countless lives, particularly those of the competitors themselves. Very few sports are still continuing at present, and on top of this, there is currently no sign of when it’s likely to start up again. To help you get a clear fix on how things are taking shape, we’re going to investigate the condition of sporting events in a few countries within Africa.
Kenya has taken drastic measures to help limit the spread of coronavirus as much as possible. One of the preventative measures taken was to close down all sports within the country. This has impacted some of the best betting sites in Kenya, as the number of sporting events has dropped significantly.
While this will obviously reduce the amount of tax revenue the country has access to, and cause other economic hardship, the government obviously sees the health of its people as the more pressing issue at this time.
In fact, the Kenyan government has taken the drastic steps of not just banning sporting events but banning all outgoing trips for athletes. Any competition that was due to take place outside of the country in the near future has either been cancelled or postponed.
The original ban was intended to run until the end of March, but at the time of writing, there is no news as to when the ban will be lifted and when sports can start to take place again.
Uganda is another country taking the threat of coronavirus seriously. At the end of March, it was announced that the whole country would be placed on lockdown for two weeks. This rule was obviously put in place for the good of the general population, but it extends to sporting events as well.
At the moment, people can’t leave the house unless they have explicit permission from a high-ranking government official. People who run vital stores, such as market traders who sell food, have been told that they are unable to return to their houses and must set up camp near to their stalls. Even pregnant women must get permission before they are allowed to enter a medical facility to give birth.
As a result of this drastic upheaval, sporting events have also been cancelled. Athletes are not exempt from the rulings and they too must stay in the house. Yoweri Museveni’s measure is extreme and ruthless, but with confirmed cases continuing to rise, it has been implemented to try and keep people as safe as possible.
The lockdown is in place for two weeks initially, but there is no guarantee that things will go back to normal at the end of it. In fact, sporting events might still remain cancelled if the government decides that large gatherings of people should be avoided.
Even though the vast majority of African countries are enforcing some type of lockdown and, at the very least, cancelling sporting events, Burundi hasn’t followed suit.
Part of the reason for this is that Burundi still hasn’t had a confirmed case of coronavirus yet. Although it might appear that the small nation isn’t taking the threat seriously, it’s actually been quite forward-thinking in its attempts to avoid contamination.
Burundi has halted the flow of people into the country since the news of the virus broke. It didn’t call up any players for its AFCON qualifier in March and asked the CAF to consider cancelling the qualifiers before any other nation did.
The thinking behind the refusal to call up Europe-based players was due to a 14-day quarantine that all visitors from Europe to Burundi were required to undergo. On top of this, Burundi has also limited incoming air traffic just to cargo planes.
It’s unlikely that Burundi will cancel any events that include large gatherings until there is a confirmed case. While the approach of the Burundi government has been different to that in many other countries, it would be unfair to say it’s not taking the pandemic seriously, as the quarantine rules now in place prove.
This pandemic is clearly changing the world in different, and sometimes unnerving, ways. People may find dealing with lockdown a little more difficult without access to the sports they love for entertainment and a crucial distraction. Hopefully, the pandemic will be brought under control soon and things will return to a condition we all prefer. That includes the return of sporting events that fans enjoy so much.
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