Italy, the country with the second-most deaths caused by COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, has issued a nationwide ban on spectators at sporting events until at least April 3rd, 2020. That will include the Italian Spring National Championships and Olympic Trials that are currently scheduled from March 17th-21st, 2020.
Several major swim meets in Italy have already been cancelled, including last weekend’s City of Milan Trophy in the heart of the Italian outbreak.
To date, there have been 3,089 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Italy, with 107 deaths.
The decree also requires that associations and sports clubs are required to carry out appropriate controls to contain the risk of spreading the coronavirus among athletes, coaches, managers, and all other participants.
In certain hard-hit regions of Italy, all basic physical activities (in other words, non-competitive) are suspended except where it is possible to comply with the recommendation of 1 meter of space between participants. The Italian swimming federation has recommended that its athletes comply with those orders even in competitive practices.
The Italian swimming federation has reminded its members of a ban on residents of certain regions of Italy travelling to follow teams to competitions in other Italian regions.
Several Italian swimmers, including their most famous Federica Pellegrini, called on the federation to close the doors at the Olympic Trials, though ultimately federal authorities made that decision for the federation.
The Italian Spring National Championships are scheduled for March 17th-21st in Riccione on the central eastern coast of Italy. There have so far been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Riccione, though it is located only 300 kilometers (180 miles) from the heart of the Lombardy outbreak.
Four Italian pool swimmers, Nicolo Martinenghi, Gregorio Paltrinieri,Simona Quadarella, and Margherita Panziera, are prequalified for the Olympic Games before the Trials. That’s in addition to Mario Sanzullo, Paltrinieri, and Rachele Bruni in the 10km open water events.