Turin soccer club Juventus, home of Christian Ronaldo, arguably the world's most famous football star, has cancelled practice until further notice and placed its youth team under quarantine over fears several players may have come into contact with infected players on a rival team.
According to the Daily Mail, the Juventus' management made the decision after learning that three players and a manager from the youth team of Serie C Pianese had tested positive for the virus. The two youth squads recently played each other.
So far, no Juve players have displayed any symptoms of the virus, and none have tested positive. However, the youth team will need to self-quarantine until March 8.
The training ban will extend to Ronaldo and his teammates on the main squad. The squad recently posted a match against Inter Milan, a team that recently played a match in an empty stadium, as several cases have been detected in Milan, a city in Lombardy, the worst-hit province in Italy.
A statement from the Serie A champions read: "The situation is being taken very seriously and the medical staff have told all the players to keep washing their hands and using hand gels."
"No one has tested positive but bearing in mind the Inter game has been postponed because of health concerns nothing is being taken for granted."
The team confirmed that "some of the players" from the youth squad trained with Ronaldo a few days ago. Just imagine the hysteria that would ensue if CR7 caught the coronavirus.
"Some of the players involved in the Under 23 match did train midweek with Ronaldo and the first team but that will now not happen again for a few weeks."
Meanwhile, the Pianese squad has released a statement about the outbreak.
"At the moment those infected are four, three players and a team official."
"The first is a young player who had started to experience a slight rise in temperature and headache last Saturday, when the team was away to Alessandria to play a championship game."
"The second player is in self-isolation at his home, while not showing any symptoms, as well as the third player who is slightly feverish."
"The fourth person tested positive for the swab is a club official who this morning, after spending the night in a feverish state, was transported by ambulance to the hospital in Siena."
"Currently all the players, the technical staff and the managers present during the trip last weekend are in a 15-day quarantine."
As the outbreak worsens, the CEO of Inter Milan speculated that the whole Serie A season could come to an early halt if Italy fails to suppress the outbreak.
The number of confirmed cases in Italy reached 1,128 since the start of the epidemic, up from 888 on Friday. According to Al Jazeera, health officials said only 52% of individuals tested showed few to no symptoms.