Sporting events across Italy have been immediately suspended after Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that games and travel will be banned nationwide. “There’s no reason for the games to continue,” Conte said. “The fans will have to deal with it. We won’t even allow gyms to be used.”
Il futuro dell’Italia è nelle nostre mani. Facciamo tutti la nostra parte, rinunciando a qualcosa per il bene della collettività. In gioco c’è la salute dei nostri cari, dei nostri genitori, dei nostri figli, dei nostri nonni. Ho appena firmato il decreto #iorestoacasa pic.twitter.com/Cagtzf7hnQ— Giuseppe Conte (@GiuseppeConteIT) March 9, 2020
Two days after imposing the same strict measures on a quarter of the country, in the hard-hit north, Conte urged all 60 million Italians to stay home. The only travel allowed will be for proven work reasons, for health conditions or other cases of necessity.
“Our habits must be changed, changed now. We all have to give up something for the good of Italy. When I speak of Italy, I speak of our dear ones, of our grandparents and of our parents,” Conte said. “We will succeed only if we all collaborate and we adapt right away to these more stringent norms.”
Official figures show the number of confirmed infections increase to 9,172 from 7,375. Cases have been recorded from across Italy. The country had previously locked down several provinces in the north, including financial hub Milan and tourist hotspot Venice, affecting close to 16 million people. Conte's recent unprecedented move will affect more than 60 million people.
Top-flight football matches across Europe were being played behind closed doors, and international rugby matches have also fallen prey to the virus with several postponements.
Earlier on Monday, Italy's National Olympic Committee (CONI), which has authority over all national sports federations, had recommended "sporting activities at all levels" be suspended until April 3 to help contain the virus outbreak and called for a government decree to enforce the request. The decree, which goes beyond sport and provides for draconian new measures to combat the coronavirus, will come into force on Tuesday throughout Italy, the second most-affected country after China. Since Sunday, there had been growing calls to stop sports competitions and in particular Serie A, with lower football leagues already paused.
Globally, more than 4,000 people have died due to Coronavirus, with the epicentre being in China. The virus has infected more than 1,14,000 people globally and has now spread to North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and to more than 80 other countries.