Mikel Arteta says Arsenal are following government advice regarding the threat of the Corona Virus, as all sport in Italy has been shut down until next month.
Having initially put in place restrictions that would have seen events take place behind closed doors, yesterday the Italian Olympic Committee announced a cessation of all domestic sport until April 3rd.
However, this does does not cover teams competing in international competitions such as the Champions League.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also announced that quarantine measures introduced in the north of the country would now apply nationwide.
“We’re having an important growth in infection… and of deaths,” he said.
“The whole of Italy will become a protected zone. We can’t afford to let our guard down. It’s time for responsibility and we all have it.
“The right decision today is to stay home. Our future is in our hands.”
Italy is the worst hit European nation thus far, but with cases spreading the across the globe, the World Health Organisation said yesterday the threat of a worldwide pandemic was ‘very real’.
In England, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested one way of dealing with the virus was to allow it to ‘move through the population without really taking as many draconian measures’ – thus ensuring many elderly and vulnerable people fall victim to it – restrictions have not yet been put in place regarding mass gatherings.
Speaking at his pre-Man City press conference yesterday, Mikel Arteta said, “It looks like it’s affecting more and more countries.
“Hopefully, it won’t affect us but I don’t know how realistic that is. We’re just following what the government has told us, what the club is saying and we just have to adapt to the situation.
“It’s just a few routines that we have to be more careful about; minimal contact and things like that but for the rest we are acting normally.”
Wednesday’s Champions League tie between PSG and Borussia Dortmund will be played behind closed doors, while the Six Nations clash between France and Ireland due to take place in Paris this weekend has been postponed.
In Ireland, all St Patrick’s Day parades have been cancelled, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to have congregated in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and dozens of towns across the country.
It seems ridiculous to think that football matches – events in which thousands of people come into contact – won’t be affected in England too, and how it will affect the Premier League season remains to be seen.
For more on Corona Virus – visit the NHS page for information and advice.