Footballer in Italy has been diagnosed with coronavirus

By Reuters: Friday, February 28th 2020 at 07:00 GMT +3 | Football
Italian Serie A fan poses with a face mask [COURTESY]

An Italian Serie C player has been diagnosed with coronavirus - the first professional footballer in the country to be infected.

The 22-year-old has not been named but it is known that he plays for US Pianese ASD, according to Italian newspaper La Nazione.

A statement from the Tuscany region confirmed the report, saying: "Two new suspected positive cases of Coronavirus in Tuscany. Both are awaiting confirmation by the Higher Institute of Health.

"One is a 22-year-old man in the Siena province, a Pianese player, who last Saturday had symptoms in a hotel in Alessandria, where he was training with the team ahead of Sunday's game [at Juventus U-23s]."

Pianese are currently 19th in Group A of Serie C and are based in the commune of Piancastagnaio, in the Tuscany region of west Italy.

La Nazione report that the player "put himself in voluntary quarantine" before doctors tested him for the virus and results came back positive for COVID-19, as the coronavirus is officially named by the World Health Organisation.

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It is understood that no other footballers who play with the 22-year-old have tested positive for the coronavirus since his diagnosis.

The Pianese player "had a fever and felt unwell" before the game with Juventus U23s last Sunday and decided to put himself in quarantine. Pianese lost the match 1-0, while the player reportefly returned to Piancastagnaio "independently".

La Nazione also provided a positive update on the player's condition, saying his status is "good: he is OK but he tested positive".

Several Serie A matches have been postponed due to the outbreak and Italy's Women's Six Nations match with Scotland last weekend was also cancelled.

Meanwhile, Inter Milan's Europa League match with Ludogorets on Thursday and the Derby d'Italia - contested between Inter and Juventus - on Sunday will be played behind closed doors.

Italy is the third-worst impacted country in the world by coronavirus cases, with 528 reported and 14 deaths so far.

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