The Jamaican government is advising schools against attending the annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

The event, set for April 23-25, would see several Jamaican high schools teams taking part.

However, the fast-spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting international sports events around the globe. Several sporting events have been cancelled or postponed.

“Cabinet took a decision last evening (9 March) for the Ministry of Education to advise as it relates to the Penn Relays,” explained Jamaica’s Minister of Health & Wellness Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.

He added, “schools by now should have been advised that the government is taking a position to not participate in the Penn Relays this year.”

Minister Tufton said this is so “because that travel and the location would involve levels of risk that we would like to discourage.”

Penn Relays organizers are uncertain if the event will be held this year because of the widespread outbreak of the coronavirus.

The release sent on Monday (9 March), said: “Penn Athletics has not cancelled any home events or enacted any spectator restrictions due to the current novel coronavirus concerns at this time. Travellers and visitors to campus are always encouraged to practice good hand hygiene to limit the spread of germs and illnesses.

“As conditions evolve, the University will continue to review, update, and publicize its travel and event policies. Should changes to the schedule be necessary, this story will be updated.


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Is a two-time Jamaica sports journalist of the year (2004 and 2005) and world-renowned journalist. One of his award-winning articles was on Usain Bolt, 6-time Olympic champion, 11-time World champion and sprint double record holder, was published in the Jamaica Gleaner in 2004. Anthony has covered Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016; Six (6) IAAF World Athletics Championships between 2007 and 2019 and several other international sporting events, including the 2007 World Cup of cricket and his favourite football team, Argentina vs the USA in 2004.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Cases in the USA gonna grow & if they still scrambling now When time come fi penn relays dem ago hav a better understanding of this virus HowEver it still go b spreading so yes might as well I agree & Telling the athletes now instead of last minute is good.

  2. Some y’all commenting really are not following the news on the Covid19 if you did you would have agreed to this. It’s not too early to declare that as the virus is spreading at an alarming rate in the country that Penns should be held. Sending the students out put them at risk of being exposing to the virus and then in turn import more cases to the country. The Government is trying to prevent this from happening. So taking this measure I will support

  3. @Jimmy Hamilton jamaica is pen relays for the past 50 years right now the president of pen is in absolute shock because of us not coming so don’t be surprised if it’s cancel cus without us that event is dead

  4. Is the Ja Government going to close all Primary/High School and Colleges where thousands of student interact daily smh,they need to calm down and educate the Ja public to practice proper hygiene especially when they out and about,rather than sending out signals to put the Country in Panic mode .

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