Juventus have immediately ceased all training sessions and put their Under-23 players in quarantine after a trio from Serie C side Pianese tested positive for the coronavirus. The Old Lady made this decision as Pianese were the last team that the Juve U-23 side faced. The illness seems to be spreading in that club, with the manager and three players having tested positive so far.
Thankfully nobody at Juventus has shown symptoms of the disease yet, although Juve have told their Under-23 players to stay in their houses until March 8. In Italy, the total number of people to have tested positive for the coronavirus was at 1,049. The updates were given by the government, which they now claim has risen to 1,128. The police have asked people to avoid contact with other individuals and to stay indoors.
The best brokerage firms are actually accepting bets on whether the Serie A season will be cancelled, which does feel a little extreme – but with the talk of the Olympics being under threat, who knows?
People who had preexisting health conditions are said to be those most affected, but Cremona hospital has confirmed “that there are a few young people in intensive care. This virus is 500 times more ferocious than SARS”. The most affected regions are Veneto, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, while Bergamo and Milan have also been struck. Juventus’ match with Inter Milan, which was scheduled to be played inside on Saturday evening, was postponed and is set to take place in May, with more matches also expected to be postponed. Schools will also stay shut in those areas until further notice, while public leisure centres and community centres have also been closed.
Football has been suspended, as have the rugby, basketball and volleyball leagues. Both AC and Inter Milan have closed their own offices and employees are working from home, in a city in which the subway system is quiet and devoid of people. Restrictions have been lifted in areas where the outbreak has been contained, for example Liguria, Friuli and Piedmont. Milan and Juventus are set to fight it out on Wednesday in the Coppa Italia semi-final in Turin, with local fans being permitted to go into the stadium. The best online bookmaker suggests that Juve are favourites for this one.
Thursday’s match between Inter and Napoli in the Stadio San Paolo will also only be available to neighbouring residents only, but the authorities could well postpone both matches before then. Milan is in Lombardy, so getting fans to travel from the affected region would be considered a threat to public health. This weekend, Serie A fixtures Udinese-Fiorentina, Milan-Genoa, Parma-SPAL, Sassuolo-Brescia and Juventus-Inter were moved to May 13. People and fans are advised to wash their hands and use protective masks and gloves to prevent contamination.