Ireland-Italy Six Nations tournament scheduled for March 7 in Dublin has been postponed due to the coronavirus epidemic, Irish rugby federation said Wednesday with the Irish Department of Health.
“We will immediately start working with our Six Nations partners to examine the possibility of rescheduling the match,” the federation said in a statement. Irish health officials recommended Tuesday that the match be canceled due to the risk of the spread of the new coronavirus epidemic.
The federation said it supported “the need for governments to protect public health with regard to the coronavirus”, which has caused the death of more than 2,700 people in China and which now concerns Europe and in particular Italy, a country European most affected with more than 370 cases and 12 deaths.
Irish chief medical officer Tony Holohan on Tuesday recommended the match be canceled due to “the rapid development of the epidemic in northern Italy, and (the) consequential risk of importing cases to Ireland”, which has yet to report any positive coronavirus-related cases.
The postponement also concerns the matches of the teams under 20 and women scheduled for March 6 and 8.
In Italy, many sporting events have been canceled or rescheduled as a precaution. For example, four Serie A football matches and a Six Nations Women’s Tournament match between Italy and Scotland have been postponed.
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, played several months later.