The Sports Ministry has asked all national federations, including the Board of Control for Cricket in India, to follow the Health Ministry’s advisory and avoid large gatherings in sports events keeping in mind the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya said that sporting events in the country can continue but without the presence of a large number of people.

“We have asked all the NSFs, including the BCCI, to follow the Health Ministry’s latest advisory, which says public gatherings should be avoided in all events, including sporting activities,” said Julaniya told. “The sporting events can go on but the advisory needs to be followed,” he added.

The government on Wednesday suspended all visas, barring a few categories like diplomatic and employment, in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus as cases across India rose to 60.

The outbreak, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on Wednesday, has led to more than 4,000 deaths globally.

The government’s decision to suspend most visas until April 15, which comes into effect on Friday, has put a big question-mark on the sporting events in India.

As a result, no foreign player will be available for the IPL till April 15. Before that, the shooting World Cup and the Indian Open golf tournament were postponed while badminton’s India Open will be played without any spectators.

“We wrote to all NSFs, including the BCCI but the BCCI is yet to respond to our communication. Not just the NSFs, the government has written to Chief Secretaries of all states. The government has asked all the states to follow the Epidemic Act of 1897,” he added.

The coronavirus outbreak has also led to speculation over the fate of the Tokyo Olympics this year. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, has insisted that the Games will be held as scheduled in July-August.