In December 2019, there was an outbreak of a deadly virus called Coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, China.
Despite all efforts by WHO and other health organizations in the world to contain the virus, the virus has proliferated and become a pandemic.
The virus has in the short while spread through 190+ countries. 350,000+ cases have been confirmed and 15,400+ deaths have been recorded.
With the WHO organization putting in more effort to reduce the spread of the virus, countries have closed their borders and a lot of events has been put on hold, including football.
We take a look at what this virus is, it symptoms, how it has affected football and many more:
WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS?
Coronavirus is (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus is a type of coronavirus — a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
WHERE DID THE VIRUS ORIGINATE FROM?
The source of coronavirus is believed to be a “wet market” in Wuhan which sold both dead and live animals including fish and birds.
One persistent myth is that this virus was made by scientists and escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began.
No evidence suggests that the virus is man-made, it is believed that it came from an animal. The animal source has not yet been identified, but the original host is thought to be bats. Bats were not sold at the Wuhan market but may have infected live chickens or other animals sold there.
In short, the characteristics of the virus fall in line with other naturally occurring coronaviruses that made the jump from animals to people.
SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS
• Shortness of breath
HOW ONE COULD GET INFECTED
• If an infected person coughs or sneezes, their droplets can infect people nearby.
• Touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face is one of the ways to become infected.
HOW TO AVOID GETTING INFECTED
Avoid close contact with others:
• Stay home as much as possible and reduce visitors.
• Practice social distancing. Stay at least six feet away from others in public places.
• Avoid people who appear sick.
Practice good hygiene wherever you are:
• Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public places.
• If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
• If you cough or sneeze, do so in the bend of your elbow. If you use a tissue, throw it away immediately.
Take precautions if you are living with or caring for someone who is sick:
• Wear a mask if you are caring for someone who has respiratory symptoms.
• Clean counters, door knobs, phones and tablets frequently, using disinfectant cleaners or wipes.
If you feel sick, follow these guidelines:
• Stay home if you feel sick unless you are experiencing a medical emergency such as severe shortness of breath or a very high fever.
• Call your doctor or urgent care facility and explain your symptoms over the phone.
• If you leave your home to get medical care, wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms.
HOW CORONAVIRUS HAS AFFECTED FOOTBALL
CAF earlier this month confirmed that the Total AFCON 2021 Qualifiers, FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup Qualifiers and the Total Women’s AFCON 2020 Qualifiers have been postponed. The CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup have also been suspended.
The Ghana Football Federation (GFA) also announced that the Ghana Premier League and all footballing activities in country have been put on hold. Morooco, Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa, Kenya, Cameroon have also adopted similar strategy in bid to reduce the spread on the virus.
Despite reported cases in Nigeria, the Nigeria league was still going on, until Thursday when the league was suspended for 4 weeks.
The Angolan and the Burundi league is still on going.
ASIA AND OCEANIA
AFC confirmed that it has postponed all footballing activities, including the World Cup qualifiers and the AFC Futsal Championship, which was due to take place in Turkmenistan between in February.
The Chinese league which was due to start in February has been suspended indefinitely. The South Korean league, Japan league and the Saudi league have also been suspended.
The UAE league which has been suspended for a while now is likely to resume after Sunday, a remote work system has been piloted by government and the league board to ensure that league operate remotely from Sunday.
In the Oceanic region, all football tournaments and meetings in the have been postponed until at least the 6th of May. It is still unclear whether the 2020 OFC Nations Cup will go on.
All football leagues have been suspended, with the exception of the Australian league which plays on, but without fans. Although two games were suspended on Sunday, the country’s football federation is yet to announce whether the league will be suspended.
UEFA after adopting a strategy of playing some Champions League and Europa League games behind closed doors finally decided to suspend the competition.
UEFA postponed Euro 2020 until the summer of 2021, with new dates of June 11 to July 11 next year proposed. The 2021 Nations League finals, UEFA Under-21 European Championship and the Women’s Euro 2021 were also postponed. All international friendly games and qualifiers have also been suspended.
In England, the English FA suspended all football leagues until at least 30th April. The English Amateur league which was still playing as at last weekend has also been suspended.
Football in the other 4 major European leagues (Spain, Italy, France, Germany) have also been suspended.
All football leagues across Europe have been suspended, with the exception of Belarus league which commenced on Thursday 19th March, 2020. The league is operating with fans at the stadiums.
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
In North America, CONCACAF suspended all competitions, including the Champions League and men’s Olympic qualifiers.
All football leagues in the region has been suspended with the exception of the Nicaraguan league.
In South America, the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana have been suspended until at least May 5th.
This year’s Copa America, originally scheduled to take place from June-July in Colombia and Argentina, was postponed to June 11-July 11, 2021.
All football leagues in the region have also been suspended
WHICH FOOTBALLING PERSONNEL HAVE BEEN INFECTED?
The virus continues to spread across the world, a number of high profile footballers and football personnel have tested positive.
Some of these high profile footballers and football personnel include: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, Daniele Rugani, Paulo Dybala, Blaise Matuidi, Manolo Gabbiadini, Paolo Maldini and his son Daniel Maldini, Ezequiel Garay, Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis, Marouane Fellaini etc.
The virus has so far taken the lives of two footballing personnel. Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz and 21-year-old Spanish football coach Francisco Garcia died after contracting the virus.
WHAT THE FOOTBALLING WORLD HAS DONE TO HELP COMBAT THE VIRUS
Since the outbreak of the virus, footballers and club teams around the world have done so well to help combat this deadly virus.
Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld donated “dozens” of electronic tablets to hospitals to help sick people keep in contact with family and friends.
Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, along with USMNT team-mates Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams, have donated to the Feeding America charity, which helps feed the huge number of Americans who are struggling in such trying times.
Chelsea announced that the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge will be used for accommodation for National Health Service staff in west London.
Robert Lewandowski and his wife Anna donated €1 million to charity. Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich jointly donated €1 million to charity.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has set up an online fundraiser to help fight the virus, he pledged €100,000 (£91,000) to the cause himself and has set a target of €1million to support the hospital.
Roma delivered 8,000 pairs of protective gloves and 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to churches around the capital. Inter Milan also donated 300,000 face masks to the public health department.
Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, owner of third-tier Monza and former president of Milan, made a €10m donation to the Lombardy region on Tuesday to help build a 400-bed intensive care unit.
The Agnelli family, the owners of Juventus and the Fiat Chrysler Group also provided €10m to support the nation, while Juve announced the family holding company Exor is in the process of buying 150 artificial respirators for Italian hospitals.
First-team players and staff at Inter have donated €500,000 (£455,000), while crowdfunding campaigns set up by Roma, Milan, Juventus and Fiorentina have each raised more than €420,000. A campaign set up by Lazio highlighted the importance of people continuing to go and give blood, reassuring house-bound residents that it is permitted and safe to do so.
Others, including the SPAL striker Andrea Petagna, the Napoli captain, Lorenzo Insigne, the Torino forward Simone Zaza and the Juventus winger Federico Bernardeschi, have raised or donated more than €430,000 between them. The former Roma and Italy forward Francesco Totti also weighed in, donating 15 machines for monitoring vital signs to a hospital in Rome.
I beseech all Football fans around the world to please follow all instructions from WHO as we try to get out of these tempestuous times safe and alive. Stay safe!!!