‘We’re staying home’ - Sporting stars show support for NHS campaign

Matt Jarvis of Norwich and Raheem Sterling of Manchester City in action during the Barclays Premier

Matt Jarvis of Norwich and Raheem Sterling of Manchester City in action during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, NorwichPicture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 64026712/03/2016 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Sporting star are teaming up with the NHS to show the coronavirus pandemic the red card by encouraging the public to stay at home.

Personalities from the worlds of cricket, football and basketball are uniting in support of the Stay Home Save Lives campaign.

England manager Gareth Southgate is leading the flurry of online messages which have been unveiled ahead of 8pm on Friday, which was when England’s match against Italy was due to get underway.

In the first of the messages, the England national team will express solidarity with Italy, which has been the worst affected European country during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Saturday, top football players and managers – including Raheem Sterling, Steph Houghton and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - will also urge their fans to stay at home on Saturday from 3pm – the time the starting whistle would traditionally blow on their games.

Norwich fans have also been encouraged to sing “On the Ball” from their gardens, windows and doorsteps at 3pm.

This week the prime minister Boris Johnson, who has since confirmed he has contracted coronavirus, issued stricter instructions to the public to stay at home.

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Under the new guidance, the public should only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home, stay two metres away from other people and wash their hands regularly.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “I know lots of people will be missing their weekend sporting rituals over the coming weeks – whether it’s going to the ground, the pub or round their friends’ house to watch their favourite teams compete.

“But nobody can sit on the bench when it comes to the national response to the global coronavirus pandemic, which is why the NHS is calling up sporting heroes to help their fans through this tough time, and encourage them to do the right thing and stay at home.

“Our NHS staff are working round the clock gearing up to deal with this unprecedented challenge, and it’s fantastic to see sport stars helping to amplify their important message: stay home, save lives.”

The campaign has also been backed by England cricket captains Joe Root and Heather Night and London Lions Basketball star Justin Robinson.

Gareth Southgate said: “Life is very different for us all at the moment and sport rightfully stands aside to support a more important cause during these unprecedented times.

“We were supposed to be welcoming Italy and Denmark to Wembley Stadium in the coming days but football is insignificant as we are all in the midst of a global battle.

“Now is the time for sport to come together, speak with one voice and be united behind a very clear message: stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

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