Covid-19 concern for Italy as members of TV crew test positive

Three crew members from broadcaster Rai who are following team have tested positive

Roberto Mancini takes Italy training in Florence on Thursday. Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty

Roberto Mancini takes Italy training in Florence on Thursday. Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty

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Three TV crew members from the public broadcaster, Rai, who are following Italy’s national team, tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, throwing the country’s football federation into panic and prompting officials to cancel Friday’s face-to-face press conference with the Azzurri.

A reporter, Alberto Rimedio, and two TV technicians returned positive tests for coronavirus after taking a swab test early this morning, according to several reports in the Italian press.

Two of the members of the TV crew are in London while the third is in Florence, where he is following the national team in its training camp in Coverciano. “I hope this will be resolved soon,” said Auro Borrelli, editor in chief of Rai Sport.

The Italian football federation (FIGC), informed of the positive test results of the crew members in the early hours of the morning, have closed the doors of its sports centre to protect both the team and the coaching staff. The in-person press conference with the players, scheduled for Friday, was cancelled and was held remotely, via video link.

The federation immediately sanitised the media centre and offices, which was frequented by the person who tested positive. The footballers are not worried, according to reports, as they are all vaccinated. Despite this, the federation fears that the contagious Delta variant may have hit the federation officials, who are following the Italian national team, despite distancing and anti-covid measures having been observed during the European Championship between the members of the FIGC.

The FIGC delegation and the players will leave tomorrow morning, around 11am, with a flight from Florence airport to Luton. The situation is more complicated for Rai, who will have to replace the technicians and the journalist just over 48 hours before the match.

The episode has rekindled the debate on Uefa’s controversial decision to hold the game in London, despite the increase in infections in the UK, and the spread of the Delta variant. In June, the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, said he wanted to bring the final to Rome because of Britain’s rising coronavirus infections.

During a news conference in Berlin with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, when asked if he was in favour of moving the final to Rome, Draghi said, “Yes ... I will try to stop the final being held in a country where infections are quickly rising.” - Guardian

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