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Coronovirus: latest news on the worldwide pandemic, 18 March

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Rafael Nadal of Spain bites the winners trophy after victory following the mens singles final against Dominic Thiem of Austria during Day fifteen of the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros on June 09, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo b

Coronavirus: latest news

Good news on the football front as eyes look towards a return to action in some parts of the world.

With a general feeling that Japan is around 3-4 weeks ahead of Europe...

Suggestions that Rafael Nadal, among others, could boycott the French Open after the announcement of changed date.

The former Manchester United player, Gary Neville, owns Football Hotel along with Ryan Giggs and the Sky Sports football pundit took to Twitter to announce the move to open his hotel to hospital workers. He also said he would not be asking his staff to take unpaid leave or laying off any of his staff either.

Matuidi recently tested positive for coronavirus and Pogba did a work-out on Instagram with his friend's Juventus jersey on.

As the clock turns to 20:00, the nightly applause rings out across Spain in thanks to all the medical teams supporting the population through the coronavirus crisis


Spanish economist José María Gay de Liébanahas warned of the consequences facing Spanish clubs if competition continues to be suspended because of the coronavirus crisis. He thinks that players, especially the more well paid ones, should give up part of their salaries to ease pressure on clubs who are losing income by he day. Some of the less financially robust clubs might even disappear altogether, if action isn't taken, he warned. Read what he had to say here:

Javier Tebas

LaLiga president Javier Tebas spoke to AS earlier today and discussed the challenge posed by the coronavirus. His big message is that with Euro 2020 moving he sees now reason why LaLiga won't be able to be fully played out to its conclusion. 

Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken the decision to close all schools in England will close from Friday. Scotland and Wales had already taken the decision to close their schools as of Friday. Northern Ireland's education minister Peter Weir has not yet confirmed the date of any potential school closures in that part of the country. Johnson would not be drawn on how long the schools would be closed for. Here's the Guardian's reporting of the news.

Alavés have confirmed that 15 members of their staff have tested positive for coronavirus. They last played Valencia, who played Atalanata before them. 


AS journalist Alfredo Matilla spoke to LaLiga chief Javier Tebas earlier on Wednesday with the president offering his view on the challenges faced by the Covid-19 virus and his hopes for the season concluding.

Read the full exclusive interview

The death toll in Lombardy has reportedly risen by 300+ today alone. Officials in Italy say hospitals are snowed under and the situation doesn't look like it's getting any better. 475 deaths nationwide in Italy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sad news from Italy: the death toll has increased by 475 in a single day, say the country's Civil Protection Agency. The total number of deaths now stands at 2,978. In total there have been 35,713 confirmed cases in the country, up 4,207 since yesterday.  

Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha González has thanked the government and people of China for donating medical supplies to help in the fight against the coronavirus.

Georgina Rodriguez

Georgina Rodriguezhas caused offence by nipping to the shops in the middle of the Coronavirus lockdown in Portugal. She recently asked her followers to keep safe and stay indoors - advise that obviously that doesn't apply to everyone.... Meanwhile, her partner Cristiano Ronaldo is at home in quarantine with two of his Juventus team mates testing positive for Covid-19. Read more here:

From Friday, Nigeria will ban citizens from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the USA, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland from entering the country. All individuals returning from abroad are also required to self-isolate, even where they do not have symptoms. Those returning from 'high-burden' countries (>1,000 cases) will have their self-isolation supervised. 

Georgina Rodríguez out shopping

Georgina Rodríguez, the partner of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo, is being heavily criticised on social media after being spotted out shopping in Funchal, where she and her family are staying at the moment, unable to return to Turin due to the coronavirus. The advice of the Portuguese authorities is not go out unless strictly necessary due to the risk of spreading the virus; furthermore Rodríguez could be considered a higher risk individual as she is living with Ronaldo, who was in contact with Juve players Rugani and Matuidi who have both tested positive for the virus.  

For those anxious about Covid-19, this free handbook comes recommended from the Professor of Primary Care, University  of Oxford (UK)


Ryanair is to ground "most if not all" flights from next Tuesday.The only routes the airline will run will be for "essential connectivity" between the UK and Ireland. Customers are being asked not to call the airline's overloaded call centres and await instructions by email. 

Three Alavés players test positive for coronavirus

Three Alavés players have tested positive for the coronavirus along with a further 12 members of staff the club has confirmed. The individuals who have tested positive currently have no symptoms and are in good health. As a precaution the club tested on Monday all of its staff connected to both its football and Baskonia basketball teams.

Here in Spain all hotels in the country have been ordered to close within seven days, meaning tourists are being told to make plans to head home. The country is in complete lock-down and has registered 13,716 confirmed cases and 616 deaths from Covid-19.

Deportivo Alaves (and their sister basketball club Baskonia) confirm 15 positive cases of Covid-19 within the organisation with 3 players (unnamed) affected.

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic has launched a Go FundMe page (in conjunction with Humanitas) to help aid hospitals in Italy during the coronavirus outbreak.


Sporting Clube midfielder Francisco Geraldes has offered to help those in need in Lisbon by going on shopping runs for those who are unable to leave their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic. Portugal was declared in a state of alarm five days ago and sadly, the first death from the virus was registered today.

Lorenzo Sanz

Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz, whose teams delivered the Septima and Octava, is in intensive care in Madrid, with suspected coronavirus. More on that story here


The Camp Not bench won't be warmed by Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman until at least 2021 after the decision to move the European Championship back a year impacting on his Barcelona clause slipping a year too.

As football clubs around the world look for innovative ways to engage with their supporters in these testing times, Athletic Club will hold an open online Q&A with striker Iñaki Williams tomorrow.



Good news: Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi is recovering well from coronavirus, according to his coach Frank Lampard. "I’m happy to say that in Callum’s case, he has made great progress and almost feels his usual self, which is obviously the news we all want to hear. I am of course aware that not everyone can or will recover from this virus, so I urge all of the football and sporting community to continue to act responsibly and look out for the health of others."


The first case of a professional footballer being hospitalised due to the coronavirus has come to light in China. According to Infobae, Dorielton, a Brazilian player with Meizhou Hakka who play in the second division, landed in Guangzhou on Monday, having flown in from Bangkok, and was taken to hospital suffering from Covid-19. 

Laver Cup clash with rescheduled French Open

Trouble in the world of tennis. The French Open announced yesterday that it would be postponing this year's event and holding it in September. The issue is that Roger Federer's Laver Cup, which pits the best players of Europe against the best of the rest of the world, overlaps with the new dates for the French Grand Slam. The Laver Cup organisers have released a statement saying they were surprised by the move and they intend to hold the Laver Cup 2020 in Boston as scheduled. 

Away from sport, and Glastonbury have just confirmed they are cancelling this year's festival. 

Very good @SpursOfficial

Premier League coronavirus plan

Word from England is that the Premier League clubs are planning to play all 92 remaining games in the competition behind closed doors at neutral venues with all the action broadcast live on TV. The matches would be played at two or three neutral venues likely in the midlands. The Premier League is desperately keen to keep both Sky and other TV companies happy, as they fund so much of the competition, while it would also make football fans around the world delighted. 

Euro 2020 postponed: Reshuffle is like building a ship in a bottle. Today's editorial on the effects of the coronavirus on the football calendar. 

John Obi Mikel in action

News from Turkey/London: John Obi Mikel has apparently rescinded his contract with Trabzonspor and left Turkey for London after the Turkish Süper Lig decided not to suspend matches for the coronavirus, instead playing them behind closed doors. "There's more to life than football. I don't feel comfortable and I don't want to play in this situation," said the player. Obi Mikel had one year left on his contract.

If you're stuck in lockdown and looking for something to fill up 140 seconds with you could do a lot worse than this... 

Today's front page here in Spain: Football can wait

Today's front page here in Spain: Football can wait

Our most read story of yesterday on the coronavirus was the news that the strain in Spain has mutated from the original.

The big football news from yesterday was UEFA's decision to move Euro 2020 to 2021, with CONMEBOL doing the same for the Copa América. The Champions League final is planned for 27 June and the Europa League final for 24 June, if the pandemic allows.

Belgium is the latest country to go into lockdown, following the likes of France and Spain. Citizens are being asked to stay at home and limit contact to their closest family.

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the Coronavirus epidemic - focusing on the impact of the disease on the sporting world, but also keeping you up to date with the latest breaking stories.


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