Sumo Association spokesman Shibatayama told press over the phone on Thursday that there is one suspected case of coronavirus within the wrestler ranks. The lower division rikishi, whose identity and stable-affiliation has not been made public, has displayed a high temperature, productive cough, and has complained of fatigue and labored breathing since Saturday. His temperature has reportedly stabilized once since the sickness began, only to rise again to a worrisome degree.
Shibatayama-oyakata explained that the wrestler underwent a “simple” inspection which indicated that he was positive for the virus. Shortly after, he was taken to the hospital for a more authoritative PCR test. First a positive, then somehow a negative result were reported, leaving the involved wrestler and the association confused, anxious, and without a clear cut course of action. According to Shibatayama, a definitive positive result would be revealed by Friday; if the result is negative, we will not know for sure until one day later.
Morning practice at the involved stable has been cancelled indefinitely with this news, usual inter-stable practices already having been called off since the beginning of the current off-season. Everyone in said stable will be tested for the virus if the mystery wrestler is found to be positive. He is also under scrutiny as to his compliance with safety measures pushed by the association. At the extraordinary board meeting held on the 3rd, Chairman Hakkaku had yet again urged stables to follow the guidelines that have been in place for over a month now.
At the same board meeting the JSA decided to postpone the next two tournaments, both by two weeks. Other changes are being made to the usual affairs as well. At least 5 stops on the cancelled summer regional tour will be incorporated into the winter tour in December.
And as for distribution of the new rankings chart for Natsu Basho, the debut of which is scheduled for April 27th, the physical document will be available by mail order only. The usual practice of young wrestlers from each stable fetching a copy early on the day of its release will also most likely be replaced by mail delivery. With the situation at hand, it is highly likely for further postponements and cancellations to occur.