Professor Roberto Burioni hopes seeing professional athletes and coaches test positive for Coronavirus can represent “a step forward in realising the problem” the world faces.

There have now been two Serie A players who tested positive for Coronavirus – Juventus defender Daniele Rugani and Sampdoria forward Manolo Gabbiadini – along with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, while players at Leicester City, Manchester City and Chelsea are in self-isolation.

Professor Roberto Burioni hopes seeing professional athletes and coaches test positive for Coronavirus can represent “a step forward in realising the problem” the world faces.

There have now been two Serie A players who tested positive for Coronavirus – Juventus defender Daniele Rugani and Sampdoria forward Manolo Gabbiadini – along with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, while players at Leicester City, Manchester City and Chelsea are in self-isolation.

“These diagnoses are a step forward in realising the problem,” virologist Professor Burioni told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Many were living under the illusion that well-trained and constantly controlled athletes could somehow resist the virus, but anyone can catch it. And I mean anyone. Young people, children, the elderly and even football players at the peak of their careers and fitness.

“Clearly, the consequences for the elderly or those who are already debilitated by health conditions can be different. I hope and expect Rugani and Gabbiadini to recover. The problem is they could’ve contaminated others.”

Juventus have put 121 people into self-isolation after they came into close contact with Rugani, while Sampdoria and their most recent opponents Inter and Hellas Verona are making the same procedures.

“After contact, there can be a period of incubation that usually runs from five to eight days, but can at times reach 14 days, during which the person can get ill and in turn pass on the virus. Anyone who is contaminated today will not feel ill tomorrow, but in a little while, so that is why Juventus are under quarantine.

“Rugani only just got the infection and it takes time, but everyone from President Andrea Agnelli to teammate Paulo Dybala has to be rigorously isolated. They have to check their temperature a couple of times a day, verify if they have even the slightest symptom, above all respiratory problems. Only at that point should they undergo the test to see if the virus is present in the throat.”

Juventus have been criticised by some for not testing Rugani before the Inter game, but Professor Borioni insists it was the correct procedure.

“Without symptoms, there is no real need, you just have to wait until the end of the quarantine period to then get back into public life. Rugani probably had a very mild fever, because this virus can have some very mild symptoms and that is why it’s dangerous, because the person who feels largely fine has the unwanted power to infect others.

“If he went to training with that virus, he could’ve contaminated teammates, coach, staff and anyone he came into contact with. The quarantine process after testing positive is at least two weeks, but the infection is different from person to person.”

Serie A has been suspended until at least April 3, but over the last 48 hours multiple tournaments around the world have been postponed or cancelled due to the Coronavirus epidemic.

“The situation was clear for all to see: it was unthinkable to play football with fans and stopping Serie A was sacrosanct. It’s even dangerous to play behind closed doors, as we saw, because those who play can get infected too. It’s a very easy virus to pass on.

“We will get back to enjoying football and our gatherings, but right now the destiny of this epidemic is in our hands. Even I have to stop watching my beloved Lazio, so no flag-waving, no mocking of our Roma cousins: the moment is too serious, the enemy is common and strong.”

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