UAAP to use 'alternative formats' for collegiate events if classes resume in April

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 14) — The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), which hosts one of the major collegiate sporting leagues in the country, has decided to cancel the games after the government raised its highest alert for COVID-19.

The UAAP, however, said in a memorandum issued Saturday that it will “work toward alternative formats of competition,” at the earliest by May 1, should the government decide to reopen schools on April 15 and lift the ban on mass gatherings.

All sporting events in the juniors division are also canceled, including the final championship game between the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University in girls’ basketball. As a result, both universities were declared champions.

“The situation continues to rapidly evolve. This reminds us that we are all part of a broader society and that this is not just a sporting issue, but a public health issue with global implications. The UAAP intends to do the greater good for the greater number, without disregarding the hard work of its coaches and student athletes,” the association said.

Several sporting events in the country and abroad, including this year’s NBA season, have been cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19, which has infected at least 152,000 people and killed over 5,000 people globally, according to the World Health Organization.

The number of patients who have contracted COVID-19 in the country has reached 140, with the Health Department confirming 29 new cases on Sunday. 11 people have died because of the disease.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which is related to the virus which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, but is not as deadly, with the fatality rate standing at around three percent.

According to the WHO, 80 percent of patients only experience “mild illness” and eventually recover. It added that some 14 percent experience severe illness while five percent were critically ill.

The disease is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when people infected with the virus cough or sneeze.

To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.

Commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Those with severe and critical symptoms should call the Health Department at (02) 8-651-7800 local 1149-1150.