Italy orders all major sports events played without fans

UNTV News   •   March 5, 2020   •   1492

REUTERS – Italy has ordered all major sporting events throughout the country, including top-flight Serie A soccer games, to be played without fans for one month in a bid to curb Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

The move, announced in a government decree, will also affect the Six Nations rugby international between Italy and England, due to be played in Rome on March 14, and the Champions League soccer match between Juventus and Olympique Lyonnais on March 17.

All schools and universities were closed on Wednesday (March 4) to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Italy where there have been more than 3,000 cases and the death toll has reached 107.

The ban on the public watching sports events, which had already been in force in three regions in the north but has now been extended nationwide, will last until April 3 at the earliest.

The decree said that “sports events and competitions of any order and discipline, carried out in any place, both public and private, are suspended” but could go ahead if there were no spectators.

It added that “sports associations and clubs, through their own medical staff, are required to carry out appropriate checks to limit the risk of spreading (the coronavirus) among athletes, technicians, managers and all accompanying persons participating.”

Until now, Serie A has preferred to call off games in the affected regions rather than play them in empty stadiums and 10 matches have been postponed as well as this week’s two Coppa Italia semi-final ties.

However, after a meeting of club and Serie A representatives earlier on Wednesday, Inter Milan chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said that playing without fans could be the only way of finishing the Serie A season.

Marotta suggested that the six matches which had been postponed last week — including the heavyweight Juventus v Inter clash — could be rescheduled for the coming weekend.

Six Nations organisers have postponed the match between Ireland and Italy in Dublin on March 7 but said on Monday (March 2) that all other games would go ahead, including Italy’s game against England in Rome, which was not affected by the original ban in the northern regions.

The organisers and the Italian rugby federation could not immediately be reached for comment.

UEFA has said it is in constant contact with local authorities and decisions over whether games should be played behind closed doors, or postponed, would be taken at the last minute.

(Production: Stefan Haskins)

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Duterte rescinds IATF decision, orders 10 to14-year-olds to stay home

Marje Pelayo   •   January 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte revoked the earlier decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 (IATF) easing age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Duterte expressed concern that children aged 10 to 14 years old may compromise their safety and the safety of the older sector given that the new strain of coronavirus is said to be more contagious.

“Just to be sure and in our desire to protect our people, napilitan akong (I was compelled) ire-impose ang (the) 10 to 14 (years old restriction). Not at this time. It’s a sacrifice for the parents and for the children. It would limit their movements,” the President said late Monday night (January 25).

Following the president’s announcement, children 10 to 14 years of age are still not allowed to go outside their homes.

This policy, the President said, will remain in effect until the government is sure that the public is safe from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through vaccination.

Last Friday (January 22), the IATF announced its plan to relax age restrictions which is supposed to take effect on February 1.

President Duterte asked for the public’s understanding regarding his latest decision.

Pasensya na po kayo. (I’m sorry.) Mine is just a precaution,” he said. 

Takot lang ako kasi itong bagong (I’m worried because this new) strain strikes the young children,” he added,  reminding the public to continuously follow the standard health and safety protocols as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country remains high.

To date, COVID-19 cases in the country have surpassed the half a million mark.

Meanwhile on Tuesday (January 26), the IATF is expected to come up with a recommendation on the quarantine classifications to be imposed for February.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during Monday’s meeting reported that at this stage, the health care utilization rate in Davao de Oro and Baguio City has reached the critical level while that of Nueva Viscaya and Agusan del Norte are already high. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Philippines includes China, 4 other countries in travel ban list

Marje Pelayo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang announced Tuesday (January 12) that the Philippine government is expanding its travel ban to include China and four other countries amid threats of a new coronavirus (COVID-19) variant.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that apart from China, travelers from Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg and Oman are also not allowed to enter the country starting Wednesday (January 13) to Friday (January 15).

The expansion of travel restriction is part of the country’s measures to prevent the entry of new variants of coronavirus that were initially reported affecting residents in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

With five additional nations on the list, the Philippines so far has banned flights to and from 33 countries.

READ: PH expands entry restrictions, bans travelers from the US effective Jan. 3

However, the government clarified that Filipinos coming from the said countries may be allowed entry subject to a 14-day absolute facility-based quarantine period. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Pyongyang disinfects the city after North Korea introduced tougher curbs against coronavirus

UNTV News   •   July 29, 2020

North Korea’s state-run television on Tuesday (July 28) released a video of Pyongyang workers disinfecting the city as the state introduced tougher curbs against the coronavirus, after it locked down the town Kaesong, on the border with the South, to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed infection.

Strict quarantine measures and the screening of districts were in progress and test kits, protective clothing and medical equipment were being supplied, the North’s KCNA state news agency said.

The measures come after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency on Sunday (July 26) after a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the highly fortified demilitarised zone (DMZ) to Kaesong this month with symptoms of COVID-19, KCNA reported.

Reclusive North Korea had reported testing 1,211 people for the virus as of July 16 with all returning negative results, the World Health Organisation said in a statement sent to Reuters. The report said 696 nationals were under quarantine. (Reuters)

(Production: Minwoo Park)

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