Italian Serie A club Sampdoria on Friday said four of its players have tested positive for coronavirus, one day after forward Manolo Gabbiadini was also confirmed to have caught the virus.

Italy’s minister for sport Vincenzo Spadafora said the Serie A season will return “one step at a time” following the coronavirus outbreak.

Serie A has been postponed since March due to the Covid-19 crisis, though most teams returned to individual training this week.

Spadafora has previously reiterated that team training will not resume before May 18, despite the government allowing players to return to club facilities.

With Germany’s Bundesliga set to restart its 2019-20 campaign on May 16, Spadafora said in a Facebook video on Saturday: “We will imminently learn the verdict of the scientific committee on the [Italian Football Federation] FIGC’s medical protocol.

“We are also ready to propose guidelines to the committee for training sessions involving all team sports and guidelines to open up facilities, including gyms, swimming pools and dance halls, that will allow all those who work in sport to resume their activities.

“Finally, we are also working with the Ministry for Education, for Equal Opportunities and Families to reopen sporting facilities, so we can guarantee a summer of sport for the youngest members of our society. So, one step at a time, sport will return. It’ll be stronger than ever.”

Defending champions Juventus were a point clear of Lazio through 26 matches at the time of postponement in March.

There was a boost for Serie A ahead of a possible return when Milan confirmed on Saturday that none of its first team had tested positive for coronavirus.

The club said: “AC Milan confirms that, based on all medical tests carried out to date on first-team players and technical staff, there have not been any positive cases of Covid-19.

“Players will continue their individual training program at Milanello and medical screenings will be completed for all players and staff reporting for training over the coming days.”

There had been some confusion over the prospect of more cases of coronavirus at the Serie A club following comments from president Paolo Scaroni, who referred to “some infected players” in a recent teleconference.

The Serie A season remains suspended but clubs are committed to completing the 2019-20 campaign rather than bring it to a premature end, as has happened in France and the Netherlands.

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