Italy’s Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari were reinstated in the Oman Open field after Gagli tested negative for the coronavirus.
Both players had withdrawn from the European Tour event in Muscat on medical grounds. Gagli was tested for the virus after exhibiting flu-like symptoms and room-mate Molinari was moved to another hotel room.
When Gagli’s test came back negative on Thursday morning, the pair were added to the field and sent out together at 1330 local time. Gagli completed 17 holes in three under par and Molinari two under before play was suspended due to darkness.
After the round, Molinari wrote on Twitter: “Still shocked by what happened in the last 36 hours.
“I am absolutely fine and so is my good friend Lorenzo. It was a scary and annoying situation because it is not something that was in our hands and there were no certainties at all.
“The European Tour, the Oman Ministry of Health, the Oman Golf Federation and all their staff did an unbelievable job and they tried everything they could to help us in this awful situation…Thank you all!”
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said in a statement: “This is a difficult global situation, one during which we will continue to follow all guidance given to us on preventive measures, and all decisions will continue to be made in the interests of overall public health.
“We will also continue to work closely with our own health experts and local authorities to ensure we have the latest medical and travel advice for all our tournaments, because the well-being of our players, staff and spectators remains the European Tour’s absolute priority.”
Gagli had expressed his anger at the situation in Italian newspaper La Nazione, calling his exclusion from the tournament “an inexplicable decision”.
“Only us two have been excluded from the tournament, but I arrived in Muscat last Sunday and over the last few days I’ve worked out in the gym with dozens of other players,” he added.
Italian authorities have put restrictions in place in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus, with Inter Milan’s Europa League match at home to Ludogorets set to be played behind closed doors on Thursday, on the back of four Serie A matches being postponed last weekend.
The Guinness Six Nations match between Ireland and Italy, which was scheduled for March 7 in Dublin, has also been postponed.
The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – scheduled to take place in Seoul next month – have been cancelled and the PA news agency understands the Football Association is holding internal discussions at Wembley to discuss the implications of the virus.
This summer’s Olympic Games are the subject of ongoing concern and tennis star Rafael Nadal is hoping he will be able to compete in Tokyo.
“Hopefully this problem in the world is controlled, can be solved as soon as possible, that the remedy that is needed can be found and that this uncertainty, this psychosis and this fear that exists towards all this be stopped,” Nadal said in quotes reported by Spanish newspaper AS.
“For me the Games are a unique event, it is the most difficult event to win because you only have one, two, or at most three opportunities in your career.”
Hungarian football club Honved have temporarily stood down their Italian coach Giuseppe Sannino and his assistant Alessandro Recenti due to fears they could have come into contact with coronavirus sufferers.
A club statement announced: “Istvan Pisont will lead Budapest Honved in their next match against DVTK on Saturday.
A 44-year-old Valencia fan who attended his side’s Champions League tie against Atalanta at Milan’s San Siro stadium last week has tested positive for the virus.
The news was released on Thursday by the local Valencia health board, with the man currently being treated at the Hospital Clinico Universitario de Valencia.