The Italian government have announced that all sporting events that take place in the country will be played behind closed doors until April 3rd due to the coronavirus outbreak.
England are set to take on Italy in the Six Nations on March 14th at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and the game is now in serious doubt.
It will mark the second match of Italy’s Six Nations campaign to have been affected by the spread of the disease as their upcoming clash with Ireland in Dublin, scheduled for March 7th, has already been called off.
The coronavirus has caused widespread disruption across Italy with all Serie A football games also set to be played behind closed doors for the next few weeks in addition to the numerous postponements that have already occurred – including the cup semi-final between AC Milan and Juventus.
Former Munster out-half Ian Keatley, who know plays his rugby in Italy with Benetton, spoke to Pundit Arena earlier this week and outlined the precautions that were being taken at his club.
“Obviously, we’re a professional rugby team and they need our players to be on the pitch fit and healthy. They haven’t done anything extra precautionary, they just keep reminding us, ‘Guys, clean your hands’.
“They haven’t said no handshaking or anything like that but they’re just saying make sure after training you’re cleaning well, you’re keeping the hygiene levels up.
“They’re just constantly saying, ‘Clean your hands, clean your hands’. They are our sports doctors and they’re giving us this advice. As I said, we’re in a sport, they need us on the field, they need us fit and healthy. They’re the precautionary levels that they’re taking which are pretty minimal. I don’t think the public should be scared too much.”