March 9, 2020 / 4:31 PM / 5 months ago

Winter sports suspended in Italy amid coronavirus outbreak

ROME (Reuters) - The Italian Winters Sports Federation (FISI) has announced the suspension of all sporting activity across its disciplines, including skiing, snowboarding and biathlon due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced new measures to fight the spread of the disease on Sunday, placing around 16 million people in central and northern provinces, including Lombardy, under quarantine.

In a statement on Monday, the FISI said the decree meant the suspension of “all sporting activity across all disciplines at every level”, including training sessions, races and the movement of athletes, staff and doctors.

The only exceptions are Italian athletes who are already in position for World Cup or Junior World Cup events, or those currently in the running to win a competition or achieve a significant placement.

These include the women’s and men’s alpine ski teams, the biathlon team, the women’s ski jump team and skier Federico Pellegrino.

FISI President Flavio Roda said: “It wasn’t an easy decision to take but it was necessary for the protection and health of athletes and trainers at this time of great growth of COVID-19.”

Cases of coronavirus in Italy have now risen to 7,375, with 366 deaths, the highest number outside of China.

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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