The Highlanders will play the Jaguares behind closed doors in Buenos Aires this weekend due to growing concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

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The decision to prevent fans from attending the fixture, which is to be held at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, was made by the Jaguares on the social media pages just 48 hours ahead of kick-off.

As it stands, only 19 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Argentina, but both teams have recently travelled from South Africa, where there are 17 confirmed cases.

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“In view of the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in Argentina, we inform that the match between Jaguares and Highlanders will be held as a closed-door event at José Amalfitani Stadium,” the Jaguares said in a statement.

“In accordance with the measure taken by the government of the City of Buenos Aires, which includes all mass events, we assume our responsibility as organisers in the face of a public health issue that is threatening society as a whole.”

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Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger told reporters that were having daily temperature checks for signs of COVID-19, which has taken nearly 5000 lives worldwide.

The news adds to a chaotic day for sport around the globe, where events across an array of disciplines are facing postponements or cancellations.

In Europe, the PRO14 has been suspended, as has the Major League Rugby competition in North America has been postponed for 30 days.

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Outside of rugby, two NBA All-Stars – Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell – have tested positive for the virus, leading to the indefinite postponement of the world’s premier basketball competition.

Similarly, the NCAA has cancelled it’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments just as the season was heading into its final few weeks, while the opening day of Major League Baseball has been delayed by at least two weeks.

Elsewhere, Mikel Arteta, manager of Premier League giants Arsenal, has tested positive for illness, and the Australian Grand Prix remains under severe threat of cancellation after McLaren withdrew from the event due to a team member contracting the virus.

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