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US Pro Basketball Stars Test Positive for COVID-19

Brooklyn Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie (26) lobbies for a call to go in his team's favor during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, March 10, 2020, in Los Angeles.

A month before the National Basketball Association is set to resume its novel coronavirus-shortened season, two key members of the league’s Brooklyn Nets franchise have tested positive for the disease caused by the virus.

The team said DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to the New York City borough last week for workouts at the team’s practice facility.

Jordan issued a statement on Twitter confirming his diagnosis and saying he would not join the team when the NBA resumes the regular season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida on July 30.

Dinwiddie said on Twitter that he is still planning to be with the Nets in Orlando, but acknowledges that he is “one of the cases that has various symptoms.”

Jordan and Dinwiddie are the latest NBA players to test positive for COVID-19 since members of the 22 teams who are in contention for the playoffs began reporting for workouts. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced last Friday that 16 of 302 NBA players have tested positive for COVID-19 since reporting back to their practice facilities. Four Nets players tested positive back in March in the early days of the outbreak, including All-Star Kevin Durant, who has been sidelined all season with a foot injury.

Florida is one of dozens of states who have experienced a dramatic surge of new COVID-19 infections in the United States, which now stands at over 2.5 million people with over 126,000 deaths. Many states have slowed or halted plans to reopen their economies to normal activity, including closing beaches and bars and cancelling plans to resume indoor dining at restaurants.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, a leading infectious disease expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday the novel coronavirus is spreading too fast and across too many places in the United States to bring it under control.

Dr. Schuchat called the surge in new cases just “the beginning,” and said new cases are not being rapidly identified and isolated with proper contact tracing. She appealed to people to wear masks, practice social distancing and not to expect any kind of relief until there’s a vaccine.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), speaks during a news conference on the CDC's ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak at the National Press Club in Washington, Feb. 11, 2020.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), speaks during a news conference on the CDC's ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak at the National Press Club in Washington, Feb. 11, 2020.

The United States is expected to be on the European Union’s list of countries whose citizens are barred from traveling there because of COVID-19. Diplomats say Brazil, India and Russia are also expected to be on the list because of their high number of cases.

“This is not an exercise to be nice or unfriendly to other countries, this is an exercise of self-responsibility,” Spain’s foreign minister, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, told Spanish radio.

EU diplomats say the list will be revised every 14 days.

President Donald Trump suspended most European travelers from entering the United States in March.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the worst of the coronavirus outbreak is over in Canada but urged citizens to stay alert.

“After a very challenging spring things are continuing to move in the right direction,” Trudeau said Monday. “What the situation we’re seeing in the United States and elsewhere highlights for us is that even as our economy is reopening, we need to make sure we are continuing to remain vigilant.”

Non-essential border crossings between the United States and Canada are set to expire on July 21. But it is unclear how Canada will react if the surge in cases in the U.S. continues.

Across the Atlantic, authorities in Britain have reimposed a series of lockdowns in the central city of Leicester due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Monday that schools and all non-essential businesses will be shut down in the city of 350,000 this week, while urging people to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of Leicester. The lockdown of Leicester comes as Britain slowly begins to reopen its economy from the peak of its outbreak.

In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her country will host next year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit by means of digital platforms, scrapping plans to physically host the 21-member bloc in Auckland.

New Zealand has become an international success story in its response to the pandemic, imposing strict lockdowns at the outset that have resulted in fewer than 1,200 confirmed infections and 22 deaths out of five million citizens.

Ardern says calls by some politicians to reopen the Pacific nation’s borders to international travel with the number of infections rising around the world are “frankly dangerous.”