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Magical Kenya Open postponed over coronavirus concerns

GOLF By Waweru Titus | March 6th 2020
Karen Country Golf Club on March 03, 2020. [Photo: Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The much-anticipated Magical Kenya Open golf tournament that was scheduled to take place from March 12-15 has been postponed over coronavirus fears.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe asked Kenyans to stay together because ‘it’s not time to lose hope because of coronavirus’.

Kagwe also warned the public against posting alarming messages as such actions will lead to prosecution.

“Coronavirus is not a Kenyan problem. This is a global phenomenon and it’s not time to lose hope.

“We wish to notify the public that alarming messages are a criminal offence which may lead to arrest, prosecution and incarceration, so take caution,” said Kagwe.

The CS spoke while opening the Mbagathi Hospital isolation centre in Nairobi, which will handle any infections that may arise.

The Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) said it respects the decision of the Government and supports all efforts that safeguard Kenya against the possible entry of coronavirus.

“The Kenya Open Golf Limited has received the Government of Kenya’s decision to postpone the 2020 Magical Kenya Open due to the ongoing global threat from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“I have conveyed the Government of Kenya decision to the European Tour and they have assured us of their full support and we will be announcing new dates for the championship in due course.

"We will be sending out further communication to all our stakeholders,” Peter Kanyago, Chairman, Kenya Open Golf Limited said in a statement seen by Game Yetu.

The Standard Group PLC officially announced its partnership with the Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) at the Karen Country Club on Monday, March 2.

KOGL director Patrick Obath had allayed fears that the tournament could be interrupted because of the virus.

Eight local golf professionals were expected to fly the Kenyan flag high during the Kenya Open.

Growing fears concerning the global spread of COVID-19 have begun to manifest into official postponement or cancellation sporting of events also in Italy and China, countries which usually experience large gatherings during football matches.

Sports leagues and organisers are weighing whether to take immediate action or wait-and-see approaches.

What is known at this point is that these entities are acknowledging that the disease presents some sort of threat to their plans.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a Sh5 trillion ($50 billion) package on Wednesday to help fight coronavirus.

According to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, most of the money will be interest-free and countries do not need to have a preexisting program with the IMF to participate.

“What we’re doing right now is reviewing country by country what are the financial needs, and engaging with these countries to make sure they are aware of this resource and we can immediately respond to them.

“We’re in an early stage of engagement, but I can assure you that we will act very quickly as requests come,” said Georgieva.

The World Bank announced a Sh1 trillion ($12 billion) program on Monday to help poor nations deal with the health effects of the virus.

There are now more than 90,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world.

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