Rugby

Ian McKinley Says There Is No 'Mad Panic' In Italy Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

Ian McKinley Says There Is No 'Mad Panic' In Italy Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus has slowly made its way to Western Europe, and it is now starting to have a real effect on the everyday lives of people in various different countries.

Italy has been the worst affected, with 12 confirmed deaths so far. A number of sporting events have also been postponed in the country in recent days.

With efforts now underway to stop the virus from spreading further, the decision has been taken to postpone the scheduled Six Nations game between Ireland and Italy in Dublin on March 7th.

Despite the worsening situation is Northern Italy, the people in the region have remained relatively calm. That is according to Ian McKinley, the Irish-born Italian international rugby player who plays with Treviso in that part of the country.

Speaking on the Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio 1, he said that it is not obvious that the place is currently in the midst of a medical emergency:

I live close to where some of the hotspots areas are in Veneto, but to honest you wouldn't know that anything is really happening.

There is a carnival happening in Venice.

Okay, the supplies in shops have run down and there are less people in the city centre - but there doesn't seem to be a mad panic, there aren't many face masks.

For example we were playing a game in Wales last weekend so when we came back we had our temperature taken at the airport. All quite calm.

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The last time a Six Nations game was called off for similar reasons came in 2001, with Ireland's fixtures against England, Wales, and Scotland called off due to the outbreak of Foot & Mouth.

Those games would be played in September and October of that year, and McKinley has likened the situation in Italy to what went on during that particular outbreak at the turn of the century, while also saying many Italian fans would not have risked travelling to the game next week:

It has the feel of 2001 and the Foot & Mouth, yet there is no dramatic reaction from the public, despite the death of a woman last night...

Ireland may not be too happy with people coming over, but I would see many Italian fans not wanting to take that risk.

SEE ALSO: IRFU Confirm Ireland Vs Italy Six Nations Games Called Off

Gary Connaughton

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