GVB wants to cancel basketball game against Hong Kong team due to coronavirus concerns

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The Guam Visitors Bureau on Saturday recommended the scrapping, or at least postponement, of the upcoming FIBA-sanctioned Asia Cup qualifier basketball game between the Bank of Guam Men’s National Team and the Hong Kong basketball team.

Concerns were raised earlier about the Hong Kong basketball team coming to Guam due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, although only travelers from China are barred from entering the U.S. The game was originally scheduled to take place in Hong Kong but it was moved to Guam also because of coronavirus concerns.

The game is supposed to be held on Feb 20 and Public Health has stated that safeguards have been put in place to screen the incoming Hong Kong basketball team to make sure that they do not carry the coronavirus.

However, the GVB board of directors, in a statement Saturday afternoon, said that out of an abundance of caution, they and the management of GVB are recommending the postponement or cancellation of the Guam Basketball Confederation’s FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifier.

“While we are supportive of the event as a sponsor, we are very concerned about the event’s timing as the world deals with the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and the long term effect this will have on our source markets. We are looking out for the best interests of our people and feel that if this qualifier were to continue, it may damage Guam’s brand,” the GVB board said in its statement.

The board added: “Our decision comes out of strong concerns as cancellations to Guam continue from our visitor markets due to this worldwide health issue. We must work to ensure our visitor arrivals do not take a major hit going forward.”

Guam’s tourism industry has already been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak with more than 14,000 visitors canceling their trips to Guam.

Guam Basketball Federation head and Guam men’s national team coach EJ Calvo earlier told PNC that Guam is prepared to host the basketball game and the Hong Kong team has taken precautions to be healthy and ready to compete.

But the governor’s press secretary, Krystal Paco, also said the administration is looking into the questions surrounding the visit of the Hong Kong basketball team.

As of news time Saturday, GBF has not yet issued a statement on whether it will proceed with the scheduled basketball game next week.

READ the statement from GVB in FULL below:

Please see statement from the Board of Directors and management of the Guam Visitors Bureau:

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Guam Visitors Bureau Board of Directors and management recommends the postponement or cancellation of the Guam Basketball Confederation’s FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifier. While we are supportive of the event as a sponsor, we are very concerned about the event’s timing as the world deals with the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and the long term effect this will have on our source markets. We are looking out for the best interests of our people and feel that if this qualifier were to continue, it may damage Guam’s brand. Our decision comes out of strong concerns as cancellations to Guam continue from our visitor markets due to this worldwide health issue. We must work to ensure our visitor arrivals do not take a major hit going forward.”

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