Four Serie A matches and a number of games in Italy's top-tier leagues scheduled on Sunday were all canceled amid fears of coronavirus outbreak in the region. Upon orders from the government, the games between Inter Milan and Sampdoria, Atalanta and Sassuolo, Hellas Verona and Cagliari as well as Torino and Parma were suspended indefinitely.
At the moment, Italy is battling the worst outbreak of coronavirus yet recorded in Europe and as a contingency measure, a number of towns in the north of the country were forced into lock-down on Saturday. On Sunday, reports revealed the deaths of two people, with the confirmed cases of infection raising to 132. In a bid to combat the spread of the disease, the Italian government has placed a ban on public events in the areas with reported cases of infection. Schools and universities have also been shutdown.
"The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,'' a letter from sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago read as per ESPN.
"Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition. "Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I'm asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday."
The Serie B encounter between Ascoli and Cremonese was postponed on Saturday about an hour before the scheduled kick-off whiles the Serie C match between Piacenza and Sambenedettese was also called-off. As things stand, Inter Milan's Europa League encounter with Ludogorets at the Guissepe Meaza is now also in doubt.
Meanwhile, Italian football federation president Gabriele Gravina has instated a medical taskforce to assess the coronavirus emergency situation ahead of a meeting scheduled for Monday.