COVID shadow looms over Milan Derby

After four COVID-19 cases at Inter and two at Milan, a professor at the Sacco Hospital in Milan claims both teams ought to be quarantined and the football protocol is ‘ridiculous.’

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Leo Duarte tested positive for Coronavirus last week and have still not shaken off the illness, while over the last 24 hours Alessandro Bastoni, Milan Skriniar, Radja Nainggolan and Roberto Gagliardini all contracted the virus at Inter.

With the Derby della Madonnina coming up on Saturday October 17, it remains to be seen if the game will go ahead or if the local health authority (ASL) will intervene.

“If we want to maintain the slightest element of sportsmanship, we have to acknowledge that the protocol is no longer suitable if an authority can ban a team from leaving Naples for Turin,” said Professor Massimo Galli on Radio Punto Nuovo.

Galli is the chief of the infectious diseases department at the Sacco Hospital in Milan and maintains Napoli couldn’t help but accept the ASL travel ban after two cases within their squad.

There are now 26 players currently positive for COVID-19 in Serie A alone, 17 of them at Genoa, but the FIGC and Lega Serie A continue to assure the existing protocol is working.

Swabs are taken several times a week, above all 48 hours before a match.

If someone tests positive, they are placed into quarantine for 14 days and must test negative twice in a row before being allowed back into the squad.

The other players who had contact with him will have a swab every 24 hours for 14 days, keeping them locked in a ‘bubble’ and allowed to leave it only so they can play a match.

When it is an away fixture that requires a flight, as per the Napoli case against Juventus, this can become a problem and prompted the ASL to intervene.

“I hope that we can continue to have football matches, but it’s unreasonable to run risks. We should do everything with good common sense,” added Professor Galli.

“At this moment, the protocol set out by the football authorities does not hold up. The intervention of the ASL is inevitable and that was made clear by the latest Government decree.”

Does that mean the upcoming Milan Derby could be at risk if both teams are ordered to self-isolate?

“I could expect anything, because the close contacts of those who tested positive ought to go into quarantine. When there are first positive cases, then second, they necessarily have to go into individual training routines, so the new positive cases do not infect anyone else.

“The FIGC protocol is ridiculous when it comes to the issue of isolation.”

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