Mario Balotelli urges Serie A matches to be suspended amid coronavirus outbreak

Brescia forward Mario Balotelli has urged Serie A to suspend all matches due to coronavirus.

Football in Serie A is set to be staged behind closed doors until April 3 following the outbreak.

Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree on Sunday, in place until April 3, that is a sweeping quarantine of the northern regions of the country, including the Lombardy region. It restricts the movements of one-quarter of the country's population.

The players' association president Damiano Tommasi and Italy's minister for sport, Vincenzo Spadafora called for the league to suspend matches on Sunday but there were chaotic scenes in the revised Parma-SPAL match.

"Let's stop the league!!," Balotelli wrote on his Instagram story. "Do we need anything else? Stop football!! Money isn't worth our health, we have to wake up.

"Don't write rubbish to me like: 'But you are protected! What difference does it make if you play or not? Nothing happens to you behind closed doors! Don't take away the only fun that people have at the weekend in the red zones!

"I love football more than you... but playing means travelling by coach, trains, planes, sleeping in hotels, coming into contact regardless with people outside your working life...

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"I already don't get to see my children because of this damned coronavirus, because as you know they do not live in Lombardy, so it's already infuriating and sad.

"I certainly don't want my mother, who I see and eat with almost every day, to catch anything from me. She is not the same age as me and as much as I love football (which I owe everything to), I won't risk her getting ill!"

The outbreak of the virus has also led to the Champions League clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund to be played behind closed doors.

Valencia's Champions League game against Atalanta will also be played behind closed doors and club captain Dani Parejo expressed his disappointment at the decision.

His Instagram post read: "I'm no expert, but I can't understand how you can have thousands of people celebrating in the streets of Valencia for Fallas (traditional celebration), or how I can go to the airport to pick up a family member and there are hundred of flights coming from many parts of the worlds, how I switch the TV on and see that there are cultural and sporting gatherings that see thousands of fans get together and yet, we, Valencia CF, can't play in front of our fans the most important game of the season...I can't understand how a world crisis can be managed in Spain depending on which region you live in."

Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, is a new strain of coronavirus that has surged around the globe in recent months. The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory diseases. Flu is caused by a different virus. There is no vaccine for coronavirus, though researchers are working on one and hope to begin testing soon. Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung disease, are most at risk.

The coronavirus spreads mainly through coughs and sneezes, though it also can be transferred from surfaces. The best way to prevent infection is by frequent hand-washing, cleaning surfaces with regular household sprays and wipes, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.