Ireland v Italy Six Nations clash ‘should not go ahead’ amid coronavirus fears

The Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy on March 7 should not take place due to the risk posed by the coronavirus, the Health Minister of Ireland has said.

China has reported 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths following the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus that has spread to a variety of countries, including Italy where authorities have swiftly put in restrictions.

The Department of Health in Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team recommended the game should be postponed following a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Simon Harris
Simon Harris

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has yet to respond to the statement and confirm whether the match will be rescheduled.

Health Minister Simon Harris told RTE news: “The very clear view of the public health emergency team was that this game should not go ahead and that it would constitute a significant risk, because a very large number of people will be travelling from what is now an affected region.

“So my department will be contacting the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) in relation to this.

“I know (it will) cause a great disappointment to many, but it is important to make decisions in relation to public health above and beyond all other considerations.”