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Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tests positive for coronavirus

Did the decision to cancel all sporting activities come too late?

Daniele Rugani of Juventus FC looks on before the Serie A... Photo by Alberto Gandolfo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Coronavirus epidemic that has been going around the world has now come home to roost for Juventus. In a brief yet shocking club statement posted just before midnight in Italy, the club revealed that defender Daniele Rugani is the first person affiliated with the organization to now have caught the illness.

The footballer, Daniele Rugani has tested positive for Coronavirus-COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic.

Juventus Football Club is currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with him.

With Serie A action suspended until the first week of April, it’s next week’s Champions League second leg game against Olympique Lyon scheduled to be played in Turin that will now be thrown into doubt.

The whole squad trained together today, so by the quarantine procedures being implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Italian Government, this would effectively mean the entire squad will have to go into isolation immediately for up to a fortnight.

UPDATE: Rugani posted a message on social media saying, “I’m fine. ... I urge everyone to respect the rules because this virus makes no distinctions.”

UPDATE: It appears Inter Milan are now also entering quarantine following their match on Sunday against Juventus. Their Europa League game against Getafe was already postponed with the Spanish side saying they will not travel to Italy despite the game being played behind closed-doors.

“Following Juventus FC’s announcement that their player Daniele Rugani has tested positive for COVID-19, FC Internazionale announce that all competitive activities have been suspended until further notice.

“The Club is currently taking steps to put all the necessary procedures into place.”

Earlier it was announced that Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis has also tested positive. The Greek side played Arsenal last week in the Europa League, and as a result Arsenal’s game against Manchester City this week was postponed due to fears of exposure.

COVID-19 as of today has been designated as a full-fledged pandemic, having affected 114 countries around the world and taken over 4,000 victims. In Italy alone there have been 10,149 cases confirmed as of the time of publishing this piece, with 631 dead. This is the first pandemic defined by the WHO since the H1N1 “swine flu” in 2009.

There has been no other communication as of now from the club apart from the terse statement posted by the club.

Check back for more on this as it develops.