Italy orders all major sports events played without fans
UNTV News • March 5, 2020 • 804
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.
China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of a coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday (April 3).
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.
Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 29 of which were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday.
The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date. (Reuters)
Japanese manufacturers turned pessimistic for the first time in seven years in the three months to March, the central bank’s “tankan” survey showed on Wednesday (April 1), as the coronavirus pandemic pushed the economy closer to recession.
Non-manufacturers’ sentiment also worsened to levels not seen in seven years as travel bans, event cancellations and social distancing policies hurt consumption, clouding an already darkening outlook for the economy. The data underscores the challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in stopping the pandemic wiping out the benefits his “Abenomics” stimulus policies have brought to the economy.
The headline index measuring big manufacturers’ sentiment worsened to minus 8 in March from zero in December, the survey showed, compared with a median market forecast of minus 10. It was the first time in seven years the big manufacturers’ index turned negative.
The pandemic has hit an economy that had already suffered the fastest contraction in 5-1/2 years in the December quarter due to last year’s sales tax hike and the U.S.-China trade war. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines – The national government is planning to kick start a massive testing for persons suspected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on April 14.
This is according to the chief implementer of the national action plan against the disease, Secretary Carlito Galvez, during a briefing on Thursday (April 2) at Camp Aguinaldo following certification issued by Research Institute on Tropical Medicine (RITM) for several hospitals to run as COVID-19 testing centers.
“We are also determined to fast track the accreditation of subnational laboratories so we can start the massive testing of PUIs and PUMs,” Galvez said.
“We expect that by April 14, we shall be able to start massive testing,” he added.
Galvez said massive testing is expected to help curb the spread of COVID-19 while noting a slow- down in infection in the recent days.
“If you’ll see the data, the increase of the new cases has been 322, which is lower than the highest cases that we have last few days ago of 538,” Galvez said.
“This is a good sign that we are gaining the battle despite the many tests that we have right now,” he added.
In the next 10 days, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) expects the completion of the conversion of several government establishments into COVID-19 quarantine facilities in Metro Manila including the Rizal Complex, the World Trade Center, the Philippine International Convention Center, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
At present, the country has a total of eight Accredited COVID-19 Testing centers:
Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center
San Lazaro Hospital
Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
Southern Philippines Medical Center
University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health
Lung Center of the Philippines
Western Visayas Medical Center
The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, reported a number of healthcare facilities seeking approval for COVID-19 testing to help identify suspected carriers and immediately address their conditions.
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