All sport games in Italy, including England’s men’s and women’s Six Nations matches will be played behind closed doors until 3 April in an bid to contain coronavirus.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday.
It affects all areas of the country, including those places were the virus has not been reported.
It also states that sporting clubs and organisations are responsible for checking their players and staff for coronavirus.
A government statement read: “There will be no sporting events with the presence of the public in order to prevent further contagion opportunities.
“Sports events and competitions of all kinds and disciplines, held in every place, both public and private, are suspended; however it is permitted to carry out the aforementioned events and competitions behind closed doors, or outdoors without the presence of the public.
“In all such cases, the associations and sports clubs, by means of their medical staff, are required to carry out the appropriate checks to contain the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus among athletes, technicians, managers and all accompanying persons who participate.”
The issue will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday by the Six Nations organisers and the individual countries.
Italy is the worst-hit European country with about 3,090 confirmed cases and 107 deaths.