Torquato Testa will miss the Crankworx Rotorua slopestyle finals on Saturday after being asked to self-isolate by the New Zealand Ministry of Health. New regulations protecting against the spread of Coronavirus mean that he is currently holed up in his hotel room and could be there for up to 14 days. New Zealand currently has four cases of Coronavirus, however it is protecting itself against visitors from countries such as Italy where Coronavirus has infected nearly 4,000 people and killed more than 100.
Testa says he is totally healthy and not showing any symptoms of the disease but has been asked to self isolate as the disease can incubate within a body but still be passed on. The Italian rider called the New Zealand embassy before he left Italy and was told he would be fine to enter. Torquato then left Italy on March 1 and passed through border security on March 3. He was at the Crankworx site on March 4 for dual slalom practice with Stefano Dolfin, a rider who traveled with him, however they were both asked to leave the site and return to their hotel room. Initial recommendations
published on March 2, asked anyone who flew out of Italy into New Zealand after March 3 to self-isolate for 14 days, which would not have affected Torquato. However, new regulations published on March 4 stated: "anyone arriving in New Zealand who has returned from mainland China, Iran, northern Italy or the Republic of Korea (excluding airport transit), or been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
is being asked to self-isolate." The full regulations can be found here
Torquato has since spoken to the Italian embassy in New Zealand to try and reverse the decision but has now received word from Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health for the Bay of Plenty, that confirmed he must self-isolate and not attend public gatherings. It has come as a big blow for Testa who battled his way up to the top 3 in the Crankworx Slopestyle rankings last year after 10 years of competing, guaranteeing himself an automatic invitation to all stops this year. He also fears the impact it will have on his sponsorship contracts after being forced to miss one of the three biggest events of his year.