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CULTURE

These are the events cancelled in Italy over coronavirus fears

If you're planning to attend any kind of event in Italy in the coming weeks it's worth double checking that it hasn't been cancelled or postponed.

These are the events cancelled in Italy over coronavirus fears
A sign announcing cancellations at Milan's famed La Scala opera house. Photo: AFP

Regional authorities in the parts of Italy worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak have started cancelling events and temporarily closing down public buildings, including museums, schools, churches and football stadiums.

As the list of cancelled events across the country grows, we've listed some of the biggest events around Italy currently affected by the emergency measures.

Cultural events

This time of year is normally a busy one and towns across Italy have a calendar packed full of cultural events. But unfortunately many of these have now been cancelled.

Most notably, the Venice carnival was cut short on Sunday and the Ivrea orange festival was cancelled.

READ ALSO: How safe is it to visit Italy after the coronavirus outbreak?

Many smaller local carnival events planned in towns across the country this week have also been cancelled as a precaution by local authorities, even in areas where no cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.

This includes the popular Carnevalone liberato di Poggio Mirteto in Lazio, which had been scheduled to begin on March 1st.

Performances at Milan's famed opera house La Scala have also been called off.

St Mark's Square in Venice was quiet this week after carnival events were cancelled. Photo: AFP

Trade shows and events

Milan Fashion Week was closed to the public as a precaution.

Several important trade shows have been postponed, including the Milan Furniture Fair, which was scheduled for the end of April but has now been pushed back to June.

Parma's Mercanteinfiera event, dedicated to antiques, modern antiques and vintage collectibles, has been postponed until June.

Bologna's Children's Book Fair has also been postponed until May.

The International Journalism Festival, set to be held in Perugia, Umbria, in April, has been cancelled.

Sports events

Sporting events and competitions “of all types and disciplines, in public or private places” are suspended in the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont.

Five Serie A football matches have been postponed, including Sunday's clash between Juventus and Inter Milan, the Italian football league said on Saturday.

 
Other matches have been cancelled, including AC Milan v Genoa, Parma v SPAL, and Sassuolo v Brescia, all scheduled for Sunday, and Saturday's clash between Udinese and Fiorentina.
 
The country's rugby and volleyball federations also have postponed fixtures set to take place next weekend. Italy's Six Nations match with Ireland in Dublin has also been scrapped.

The Bologna Marathon scheduled for Sunday March 1st is also cancelled.

MAP: Which parts of Italy are most affected by the coronavirus outbreak?

Some regions have seen more event cancellations than others.

In the worst-hit regions of Lombardy and Veneto, local authorities banned events of any nature that attract crowds and closed museums and monuments, including Milan cathedral, which is currently off limits to tourists, although an area has been made available for those wanting to pray.

Find all The Local's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy here

Photo: AFP

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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