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Coronavirus: Major League Soccer suspends season until further notice

The NHL may well follow later on Thursday.

Major League Soccer has followed the NBA in suspending its season until further notice amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The news comes only a few weeks into the new MLS season, and just a few days before Minnesota United were due to play their home opener at Allianz Field.

United had said they were planning to go ahead with the game on Saturday, even allowing spectators in.

The NHL is due to make an announcement as to its plans for the rest of the season around noon.

It follows the impact the virus has had on soccer games in Europe, to the point that games have either been postponed or play in front of empty crowds.

But the situation appears to be getting more severe, as sports players themselves are starting to come down with the virus.

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Elsewhere in Minnesota on Thursday, the Department of Corrections has halted all  visitors and volunteers to state prisons, while CentraCare, which operates in central Minnesota, has said it's no longer allowing visitors to its "hospitals, long-term care facilities, senior housing, hospital outpatient departments, ambulatory surgery centers, and sites where individuals are housed in large numbers." 

University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm has been calling for the U.S. to enact "social distancing" to slow the spread of the disease.

This would involve people avoiding large crowds, keeping a 3-6 foot distance between you and others when you're out, and canceling large scale events.

He doesn't however think that schools should necessarily be canceled, given that children haven't shown to be major carriers of COVID-19, and the shutdown of schools would disproportionately impact poorer communities and also could potentially take vital healthcare workers out of work.

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