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One of the last Super Basketball League games before all games were moved to a smaller training center. Photo: Gene Wang/Getty Images

Taiwan's Super Basketball League is believed to be the world's only professional basketball league that is currently operational — a feat made possible by a swift response to coronavirus (six deaths in a country of 24 million people).

Why it matters: Despite being much smaller than the NBA (five teams compared to 30), the SBL's game-night protocols and empty arenas provide a glimpse of what NBA games might look like if conditions allow for its return this season.

The state of play: The SBL has relocated all of its games to the HaoYu Basketball Training Center and essentially built a bubble around it, ensuring that the building never has more than 100 occupants.

  • The only people allowed inside are teams, referees, scorer's table officials, camera operators, TV broadcasters and journalists. Many wear masks.
  • When they arrive at the door, players are "greeted by league officials who check their temperature with a forehead thermometer and record the information next to each player's name," writes NYT's Marc Stein.
  • "It is assumed that a confirmed coronavirus case in the league would lead to an immediate suspension of SBL play, but no COVID-19 testing is done on site. Any player with a temperature above 99.5°F is refused entry."

What they're saying: Former Duke guard Matt Jones scored 29 points on Thursday night to lead Bank of Taiwan to an 85-77 win over Taoyuan Pauian Archiland, led by former G League All-Star Charles Garcia.

"It feels like an adult league. ... The only noise is from your teammates. I don't even drink Red Bull, but I'm drinking Red Bull now before a game to find energy. When I get a dunk, you want to scream, but you can't. It's pointless. So I just run back on defense."
— Charles Garcia, via NYT

The big picture: While the NBA will certainly be keeping tabs on the SBL, it will be paying much closer attention to the 20-team Chinese Basketball Association, which provides a more comparable case study as it looks to resume play.

  • The CBA's season was set to resume two weeks ago after a three-month stoppage, but that has been delayed until late April or early May.
  • "It's starting to be normal over here in China," tweeted former NBA guard Pooh Jeter, who said he and his Fujian Sturgeons teammates have begun practicing five-on-five.

Go deeper: eSports surge as professional sports get canceled

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.