Auckland COVID outbreak forces America’s Cup postponement

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The first America’s Cup sailing weekend has been postponed after new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Auckland. It is unlikely to start before March 10.

Auckland has been placed on a limited lockdown for seven days from 6 a.m. on Sunday with travel restrictions to and from New Zealand’s largest city, strict limits on public gatherings and a ban sporting events.

The 36th America’s Cup match between the New Zealand team and Italy’s Luna Rossa was due to start next Saturday. America’s Cup Events President Tina Symmans said on Sunday the decision was taken early to give attendees “some planning certainty.”

The alert level changes were announced on Saturday evening after the localization of two new cases of coronavirus in the community that could not be directly linked to previous cases. Auckland recently returned to level 1 after a small cluster of community infections.

“ACE has always said they want to run as many races as possible under Level 1 restrictions,” Symmans said. “But to be on the safe side, ACE will seek an exemption to run under the level 3 restrictions in order to keep as many options open as possible.

“However, the races will not take place until at least Wednesday March 10. We need to understand all the likely scenarios so that an updated race schedule can be put in place while ensuring that regulatory requirements are met. “

The America’s Cup challenger series races were held this month without crowds when Auckland was at level 2. A government exemption would be needed and strict protocols would have to be in place for the races to take place in the United States. level 3.

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More AP Sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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