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Four Serie A games that were to be played in Northern Italy on Sunday have been postponed by the Italian government due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo, Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari, and Torino vs. Parma have all been postponed. In fact, all sporting events in the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Turin were suspended following the deaths of two people infected with the virus.
"The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,'' a letter from sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday read.
"Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.
"Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I'm asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday."
A Serie B match was called off on Saturday due to coronavirus concerns, as both teams were from Lombardy. A Serie C match was also postponed, along with many amateur and youth sporting events.
The cancellation of sporting events are just a few of the steps officials in Lombardy and Veneto are taking. Following a local outbreak of coronavirus that has no direct connection to the original outbreak in China, the two regions have closed schools, businesses, restaurants, and have even cancelled Catholic religious services. Twelve entire towns in the regions are on lockdown, which means no one is allowed to enter or leave.
According to the Associated Press, Italy has 133 cases of coronavirus. Most are clustered in Northern Italy.
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