With many sporting events cancelled, questions are now being asked as to the viability of the planned America’s Cup World Series events in Cagliari, Sardinia and Portsmouth UK over the next couple of months.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected more than 82,000 people in 37 countries, with more than 2,800 deaths reported world-wide.
The sudden expansion of the coronavirus from cases in northern Italy to other European countries has led to calls for checks at the Italian frontier, despite medical experts saying that would do little to stop the disease spreading.
Major sailing events taking place in Italy include:
The Hempel World Cup Series event in Genoa, northern Italy, from 12-19 April, and the first America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia from 18 to 22 April.
And the Olympic class Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX 2020 European Championships are scheduled for Malcesine, Italy, from 11 May.
There are also major events taking place in Mallorca. The Olympic Classes Princess Sofia Regatta from 27 to 31 March with around one thousand sailors from over 50 nations, and the Finn Gold Cup from 8 to 16 May, both based in Palma.
All these events involve large numbers of international competitors and their support teams, moving between the host sites and their home countries.
With more countries adding restrictions* to free movement across their borders, and applying quarantine rules, it is likely many competitors will decide to avoid these events, especially if they have hopes of competing in the Tokyo Olympics . . . if it goes ahead.
And for the America’s Cup teams there is the additional problem of transporting their 75 foot hulls around the world to events that may be postponed or cancelled – the New Zealand boat is presently in transit to Sardinia.
Talks are reported to be taking place between World Sailing and the various Regatta venues, with World Sailing’s Medical Commission constantly reviewing the situation and providing teams with advice and guidance.
The World Health Organisation says people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those who are sicker can take anywhere from three to six weeks.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all but essential travel to many asian countries and:
- Ten small towns in the Lombardy region and one in the Veneto region of northern Italy.
In Britain 15 people have tested positive and the NHS is to introduce ‘drive-through’ testing service for people referred through the NHS 111 service, in an attempt to relieve pressure on hospitals.
Northern Ireland has diagnosed its first case of coronavirus. The patient had travelled from northern Italy via Dublin.
Ireland has postponed their Six Nations rugby match Italy in Dublin that was to be held on 7 March.