Italy's top sports body had called for all sports events to be blocked until April 3, and asked the government to issue a decree to enforce the measure as the country fights with the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

After a meeting between representatives from all Italian team sports federations, the National Olympic Committee (CONI) said in a statement the government should intensify its measures against the virus.

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"Health protection is the top priority for everyone," the statement said.

CONI oversee all sporting events within the country, but do not have jurisdiction over the Champions League or international competitions.

The government had already ordered that all sporting events, including matches in the top-flight soccer league Serie A, must be played behind closed doors to avoid crowds of people that could boost the contagion.

Movement across Italy will now be sharply restricted in a dramatic new clampdown aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said later.

Conte told reporters that measures introduced just two days ago in much of the north were no longer sufficient and that they would have to be extended to the whole country from Tuesday.

"Stay at home," Conte said

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