Inter hopes hit by Coronavirus: can Juve and Ronaldo escape the flu?

The Italian government swung into action late last week as the beautiful land of coffee, art and Lambrettas became afflicted with novel coronavirus. From 3 cases on Friday Italy suddenly found itself with over 200 cases of the disease on Monday, the largest number of cases outside Asia.

As a consequence, over 50,000 people are in lockdown in Northern Italy, and that’s where Milan comes into the picture. Five people have died and at least 219 others have been infected with the virus in Italy, Angelo Borrelli, head of the country’s Civil Protection agency, said at a Monday news conference. The majority of cases ( no less than 167) are in northern Lombardy, whose capital is the city of Milan. Milan Fashion Week closed with Giorgio Armani’s show conducted in an empty room and streamed on cameras.

On Saturday evening, the government passed legislation placing 11 northern towns in lockdown, prohibiting travel in or out as they attempted to contain outbreaks of coronavirus in Lombardy and the Veneto. Government ministers were given powers to suspend public gatherings. All sporting events were cancelled, right down to the amateur level, across the affected regions.

Four out of six top-flight games scheduled for Sunday wound up being postponed: Atalanta-Sassuolo, Verona-Cagliari, Inter-Sampdoria and Torino-Parma. Serie A games are off till 1st March as the whole region is in crisis mode. Serie A authorities are saying games must be played in empty or closed stadiums with no audience. Crucially, Juventus is scheduled to host Inter on 1 March in the ever popular Derby d’Italia.

Playing it in a different part of Italy is being discussed, as an alternative to going behind closed doors, but that would tough for the Bianconeri, who have dropped only two points all season at Allianz Stadium.

Inter’s cancelled fixture mean they are currently 1 game and 6 points behind Juve. This season Inter has scored more goals and let in fewer than Juve, and they have also lost fewer games. Along with second-placed Lazio, they are a real threat to Juventus. But with the immoveable Euro 2020 in the glorious summer sunshine, wintry fixture pileups cannot be made good easily.

Inter may have to play in empty stadiums mid week to make up ground on their Turin-based rival. Their only perverse hope: that the virus hits Turin too, messing up their fixtures. A coronavirus case was discovered in Turin, home to the Old Lady.