America’s Cup: the first rounds postponed in Auckland due to Covid-19

The start of the America’s Cup between Team New Zealand and the Italian challenge Luna Rossa in Auckland Bay has been postponed for at least four days, and could be longer, due to the orderly re-containment in the more large city in New Zealand after new cases of Covid-19 were discovered. The first four regattas of this prestigious competition, which will be played in the best of 13 heats, should have been held on March 6 and 7. But “they will not take place before Wednesday March 10 at the earliest”, announced America’s Cup Events President Tina Symmans. This date was initially the one on which Rounds 5 and 6 were to be held. “We need to be aware of all the likely scenarios in order to come up with an updated schedule of events that meets all regulatory requirements.”, she added.

Auckland under strict containment

A seven-day lockdown began at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning in Auckland due to a worrying new case of Covid-19, a 21-year-old man who visited a gym and public places while he was contagious. This is the 13th case in the city since the appearance two weeks ago of a cluster that had pushed the authorities to order a three-day containment. Auckland has been placed on level three of the health alert.

Residents must stay at home except for work or for basic necessities. Schools and non-essential stores are closed. Entrances and exits of the city are limited. Tina Symmans, however, indicated that if the confinement continued, the organization of the America’s Cup would request a derogation to allow regattas to be held.

Other affected competitions

This has had implications for other competitions, including a cricket fixture between New Zealand and Australia which has been moved from Auckland to Wellington, where it will be played in an empty stadium. In rugby, the Auckland Blues club have decided not to return to their hometown after their victory in Super Rugby Aotearoa on Saturday against the Hurricanes in Wellington, so as not to risk being deprived of training due to the restrictions.

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