Professional football in Spain will remain suspended until further notice to limit the spread of coronavirus, La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced on Monday.

La Liga and the RFEF said matches in the top two divisions will only resume when the Spanish government decide there is no longer any health risk.

Fixtures had previously been suspended for two weeks from March 12 but there was no expectation they would restart this weekend, with the crisis continuing to escalate.

The total number of deaths due to coronavirus in Spain passed 2,000 on Sunday, making it the third worst-affected country in the world, behind only Italy and China.

The Spanish government declared a state of alarm on March 14 and intends to extend the lockdown imposed on the population until at least April 11.

A joint statement from La Liga and the RFEF read: “The Monitoring Commission established by the current RFEF-La Liga Coordination Agreement agrees the suspension of professional football competitions until the authorities of the Government of Spain and the General Administration of the State consider they can be resumed without creating any health risk.”

Europe continues to reel from the virus as Italy on Monday banned all movement inside the country and closed all non-essential businesses as the number of infections continued to soar, with 59,000 cases and 5,476 deaths, AP reported.

The drastic measures were announced after Italy became the epicentre of the global crisis earlier this month and surpassed China’s toll. On Saturday, 793 Italians died from coronavirus, the most in a single day anywhere in the world.

Spain is extending its state of emergency for another 15 days, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Sunday, as the number of fatalities soared in the country (more than 1,700 now).

(With AFP inputs)