India holds upcoming international cricket matches in empty stadiums due to the spread of coronavirus

In order to combat the spread of coronavirus, the Indian government has planned to hold upcoming international cricket matches in empty stadiums, as tourism operators and hotel managers warned of an unprecedented impact of a visa ban by the country’s government.

India has just confirmed 68 cases and no deaths. Therefore, the country has been relatively unscathed by the virus compared to some other countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. However, experts worry about its overstretched medical systems which might not be ready to handle a spike in infections.

On Wednesday, New Delhi said that it is going to cancel most visas issued for visit India until April 15. This is a far-reaching attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

One day later, the country’s sports secretary also said that it wanted the upcoming matches of the national cricket team to be played in empty stadiums.

The chief ministers of two states where India is going to play matches against South Africa this month have been advised to avoid crowd gathering, RS Jhulaniya told Reuters. So matches might continue without the spectator crowd.

Governing council chairman of the Indian Premier League, Brijesh Patel, the premier domestic cricket tournament of the country later this month, said the organization would meet on Saturday in order to debate all possibilities regarding the tournament, including visas issues for overseas players as well as the possibility of playing matches in empty stadiums.

Although tourist has already dipped sharply this year, the visa ban might take activity to an all-time low.

As one of the hottest travel destinations in the world, many people in India rely on tourism for employment. According to government data, around 10 million foreign tourists visit the country every year.

Since emerging in Wuhan, China last year, the coronavirus has infected more than 126,000 and killed more than 4,600 people globally, consistent with Reuters calculations.