Virus decreased, Taiwan will allow fans to return to stadiums this week

TAIPEI: Taiwan will begin to allow baseball fans return to stadiums this week when the government begins to relax some controls in place to prevent the spread coronavirus the health minister said on Wednesday.

Taiwan has been relatively successful in controlling the virus, with 439 cases to date and 6 deaths, with only 100 active infections, thanks to prevention and early detection efforts. The island never went into a total blockade, although the government has promoted social distancing and facial masks.

Both the baseball and soccer seasons got underway in Taiwan last month, but without spectators, providing rare live action for fans at home at a time when the pandemic has shut down most professional sport around the globe.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters that 1,000 spectators would be allowed in to baseball matches on Friday in Taipei and the central city of Taichung.

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"Starting from the 8th, fans will be allowed in for professional baseball games," Chen said.

Taiwan's baseball league said in a separate statement that it will sell tickets on a "real name" basis with designated seats, meaning authorities can more easily trace people if there are any infections linked back to attending the matches.

Fans will have to undergo temperature controls and wear face masks, and the seats will be kept 1 meter away, he said.

Wear your mask properly and show our unity and discipline. Let the world see the pride of Taiwan, the league wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday, adding that they will be the first in the world. professional baseball league to allow the public to re-enter.

El baseball es muy popular en Taiwán, gracias a una fuerte influencia cultural de Japón y los Estados Unidos.

To meet global appetite for any sports events at a time when many other countries have been locked down, baseball games in Taiwan have been providing English-language commentary and have attracted rare attention from foreign fans and media.

However, it has not all been smooth sailing, and controversy has developed in Taiwan about the name of the baseball league, called the Chinese Professional Baseball League , after several sports commentators abroad confused the island with China.

Some Taiwanese politicians have lobbied for the league to be renamed, something it has rejected.

Taiwan has a strained relationship with its giant neighbor, which claims the island as its own.

Taiwan's official name is the Republic of China, a throwback to when defeated nationalist forces fled to the island in 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war to the communists, and some companies and agencies in Taiwan still have China in their names.

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