The pneumonia epidemic (Covid-19) linked to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) continues to spread and has now touched 34 countries, with nevertheless significantly varying degrees of severity. The appearance of new outbreaks, in Iran, South Korea and in Italy, confirm the extent of this virus’ contagiousness. Certain recently-discovered characteristics of this virus, the rate of population movement, and the lack of preparedness of health systems and populations for the risks of epidemics explain the spread of this virus beyond China.
The current state of the epidemic naturally has consequences on the organisation of sporting and cultural events in different regions of the world, such as that of events on the UCI International Calendar, for example in Italy, where 229 cases of the virus had been confirmed as of 25 February (on top of some 100 awaiting confirmation).
It is not currently possible to predict in the medium term whether competitions in this country will be maintained or cancelled, given the rapidity with which new outbreaks are declared, like yesterday in Tuscany, Sicily and Liguria. In the short term on the other hand, decisions to cancel or postpone events have already been taken (last weekend) by regional health authorities, in order to minimise the risks of transmitting the virus which are made greater by travel and human gatherings in confined spaces.
The UCI remains in close contact with organisers of international cycling competitions and the health authorities of host countries, in order to contribute as far as it can to the limitation of risks of the virus spreading throughout the world.
As a reminder, the UCI recently released important information concerning the novel coronavirus which contains recommendations for individual protection and measures to be taken at international competitions being held in China and international events organised outside China that welcome delegations from countries at risk.