Serie A leaders Juventus have announced on Wednesday that defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement on their website and social media channels, Juventus said Rugani is “currently asymptomatic” and had not shown any symptoms of the virus. The club added that the defender was on the bench for Sunday’s home game against Inter Milan at was not at risk of infecting opponent players.
Juventus said they are “activating all the isolation procedures required by law”, adding that Rugani and “those who have had contact with him” are being isolated. The club said the 25-year-old Italy international is now been quarantined in a bid to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to teammates.
Rugani is the first player in the country’s top football division to test positive for the disease and the second professional footballer to undergo coronavirus test after Kylian Mbappe tested negative to the deadly virus.
The defender has won four Serie A titles with Juve and featured seven times for Italy, last featuring for the national team in 2018. Rugani posted a photograph from the dressing room on Sunday as he celebrated Juve’s win over Inter with his team-mates.
Juventus, which has won the last eight Serie A titles, trained earlier on Wednesday, although it was unclear whether Rugani was present. The club had said earlier that forward Cristiano Ronaldo was still in Portugal “pending developments related to the current health emergency” after visiting his mother — who had a stroke last week.
The outbreak of the virus has led to a nationwide lockdown in Italy, where football and all other sports have been suspended until April 3. However, Juventus is scheduled to play French club Lyon at home in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Rugani was an unused substitute in the team’s last game, at home against Inter Milan last Sunday. That match was played in an empty stadium in line with a government decree before measures became even more strict in Italy. Rugani was also on the substitutes’ bench for the first leg of the round-of-16 Champions League game against Lyon on Feb. 26. He last started a match against SPAL on Feb. 22.
Juventus’ under-23 squad recently had to self-quarantine after a member from an opposing team tested positive for the virus. That quarantine ended March 9, with none of the players showing symptoms.
Shortly after Juventus’ announcement, Inter released a statement saying the club had decided to suspend “all competitive activities” until further notice.
It added: “The club is currently taking steps to put all the necessary procedures into place.”
That is likely to include self-isolation for all players and staff. Inter’s Europa League game on Thursday against Getafe had already been postponed after the Spanish club said it wouldn’t travel to Italy.
Italy’s number of virus cases soared again on Wednesday, to 12,462 infections and 827 deaths — numbers second only to China.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the WHO, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks. Those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
Juventus currently leads Serie A by one point over Lazio as it bids for a ninth straight title