Iniesta's Vissel Kobe ban singing, chanting due to coronavirus threat

J. League side Vissel Kobe have told fans not to sing, chant or wave flags in their season-opening clash with Yokohama FC in order to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

In a statement on the homepage of the big spending Kansai outfit, fans who have a cold or flu-like symptoms have been asked to stay home while those who feel fine are requested to wear masks, wash their hands upon entry to the stadium and cover mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing.

It is hoped that not singing or participating in choreographed fan activities -- though club sources have told ESPN that clapping is fine -- will help limit the spread of the disease that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

J. League authorities have said they are ready to reschedule games if necessary as the virus continues to wreak havoc on the start of the football season in East Asia.

Kobe's actions are influenced by their midweek visit to South Korea in the AFC Champions League. On Wednesday, hosts Suwon Bluewings only allowed fans to enter the stadium if they wore masks, submitted a medical questionnaire and had their temperatures taken.

Despite strenuous actions in Korea, the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the south east of the country led the K-League to announce last week that clubs in the affected region will see their opening games of the season -- scheduled for Feb. 29 -- postponed.

It is possible that a nationwide postponement will be announced next week after 229 new infected patients were reported on Saturday alone.

The start of the Chinese Super League season, set for this weekend, has been postponed indefinitely and all four of the country's teams in the Champions League have seen their first three group games rescheduled until late April and May.

China also announced that their March qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup against Guam and the Maldives will both take place in Thailand.