For the second consecutive weekend, Italian Serie A title hopefuls Inter Milan will see their match postponed due to its country’s quickly deepening crisis over the spread of deadly coronavirus. Last weekend, Inter missed a chance to keep pace with Juventus at the top, when their match against Sampdoria was called off due to the coronavirus outbreak after two people in northern Italy died from the disease.
This time, however, it will be the Derby D’Italia — the 236th playing of the classic rivalry match between Juventus and Inter — that will have to wait. With defending champions Juve sitting at the top of the table six points ahead of Inter Milan, the match could well have determined the direction of the Serie A title race. Inter, however, possess a game in hand due to last week’s postponement against Sampdoria.
The match was originally set to be played behind closed doors in an empty Allianz Arena in Turin, according to a report by ESPN. But with the coronavirus outbreak showing no signs of abating, and in fact becoming drastically worse in Italy, the league decided to simply postpone the match. A new date for the Derby D’Italia has been set for May 13, a Wednesday.
Four other Serie A matches were also rescheduled for May 13 due to coronavirus fears.
On Saturday alone, the death toll from the disease in Italy rose by eight, to a total of 29, according to a Reuters report. The total number of cases reported in Italy, according to the Reuters report, spiked by 240, to 1,128. Most of the cases are concentrated in Italy’s Northern regions, which is home to both Inter Milan, which of course plays in Milan, and Juventus which makes its home in Turin.
Schools and universities in the northern regions also remain closed for the second straight week in the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia Romagna.
Medical experts now say that the virus may have circulated inside of Italy for weeks before being detected, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper. They base their conclusion on genetic differences between the virus found in an Italian patient and those in victims of the original outbreak in China.
The coronavirus outbreak has now affected about 83,000 people worldwide, according to the Guardian report, with the global death toll at approximately 3,000 — most of the fatalities occurring in China.
The other Serie A games postponed this weekend due to the coronavirus outbreak are AC Milan vs. Genoa, Parma vs. SPAL, Udinese vs. Fiorentina, and Sassuolo vs. Brescia.