Irish health officials Tuesday recommended the cancellation of the rugby match between Ireland and Italy on March 7 in Dublin in the Six Nations Tournament due to the epidemic of new coronavirus.
The recommendation was issued “for public health reasons” following a meeting of the public health agency’s emergency team as the epidemic escalates in Italy, said the Ministry of Health in a statement.
“Today’s recommendation to cancel the Ireland-Italy rugby match is based on the rapidly evolving epidemic in northern Italy, and the consequent risk of importing cases to Ireland,” said the head of the medical services, Tony Holohan, in the release.
Health Minister Simon Harris welcomed the recommendation, which sparked an astonishing response from the Irish Rugby Federation (IRFU): “Until the IRFU has had contact with the Minister (Harris) and will not be able to understand the government’s strategic policy regarding travel to and from Ireland and the cancellation of mass gatherings, nor will she comment further. “
At the same time, the organization of the Tournament indicated that everything would continue as planned until the federation had not met the executive of Eire.
“IRFU has requested an urgent meeting with the Irish government to further investigate this matter and we will remain in close contact with them regarding the outcome of these discussions,” Six Nations Rugby said in a statement.
According to a new report from the Italian Civil Protection on Tuesday evening, 322 cases of contamination with the new coronavirus were identified in Italy, including ten deaths.
No positive case has yet been identified in Ireland.
The England-Italy match, scheduled for March 14 on the last day of the Tournament, is also threatened.
In 2001, the schedule for the Six Nations Tournament was disrupted by the foot and mouth disease epidemic in the United Kingdom, which resulted in the cancellation of several matches, which were played several months later.