Only two of the six scheduled Serie A matches went ahead on Sunday as the Italian government and sporting authorities shut down sporting events, closed schools, and have quarantined at least two “hotspots” in Northern Italy, in the Milan and Venice regions (Lombardy and Veneto), due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, which has been spreading rapidly despite emergency measures all around the world.
This included matches for Chelsea loanees Victor Moses (Inter) and Mario Pašalić (Atalanta), and no one seems to be sure how and when those might be made up. In fact, Inter’s Europa League match on Thursday has been thrown into disarray as well, with UEFA reportedly considering holding it at a neutral venue.
The lockdown, which has now been extended into neighboring regions south, Emilia-Romagna (i.e. Bologna and surrounds), and west, Piedmont (i.e. Torino and surrounds), is expected to last at least this week, though one suspects that’s just a temporary timeline.
According to the BBC, there have been 152 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy, with 3 deaths. That’s expected to rise, just as it has in every region where it has landed so far.
COVID-19 is proving extremely adept at spreading, thanks in part due to its relatively low, 1% or so mortality rate (compared to other Coronaviruses like SARS, 10%, or MERS, 30%). As with all influenzas, personal hygiene like washing hands, not touching your own face, and not sneezing in other people’s faces are important bits of precaution everyone can take.