One of the few sports leagues to play and host fans at the beginning of the pandemic is now suspending their season amid a COVID-19 outbreak.
The Korea Baseball Organization, South Korea's top baseball league, will be suspending their season, effectively immediately. The decision from the league came after an emergency meeting with the team CEOs on Monday.
It is the first time the league will be stopping play during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Major League Baseball dealt with the delay to the start of their 2020 season, the KBO was often featured on ESPN in replacement.
As on Monday, a total of five players have tested positive for the virus between two teams, the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears. Their games were canceled over the weekend as over 60% of players and coaches from both teams are now in quarantine protocols.
There were no scheduled games on Monday, meaning the suspension of the season will begin on Tuesday and go through Sunday, which was scheduled to be the end of the first half of the season. The league is scheduled to be on an Olympic break up until August 9, with the second half of the season to start the following day.
The suspension of the KBO comes as South Korea is dealing with its worst outbreak of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. The country reported 1,378 positive cases on Saturday, which was a record high. On Monday, 1,110 new cases were reported. Officials said on Friday that cluster infections could result in daily infections reaching over 2,000 by the end of July.
In the capital city of Seoul, which makes up a majority of the positive cases, all events and nightlife businesses must close, with places like gyms having tighter restrictions.
Teams in cities and provinces that were placed under more strict guidelines are were set to play games in front of no spectators. The league said all games that were canceled in the next week will played at the conclusion of their regular season in early October.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Korea Baseball Organization suspends season over COVID outbreak