Spain applauds emergency services as crisis deepens

Coronavirus live: latest updates on Covid-19

It's been another tough day for the men and women of the Spanish emergency services with thousands of new cases confirmed and more than 200 fatalities across the country. Things are even worse in Italy, so we'll leave you with something positive: the daily 8pm applause for the people on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic in Spain, which is growing louder every day. To all of them, from all of us at AS, our heartfelt thanks. 

Zaha the latest to offer free accommodation to over-worked NHS staff.

Grim news from Italy, where the highest recorded number of day-on-day deaths since the pandemic struck has been recorded on 20 March. 

Serie A is considering asking for a halt to wage payments to aid smaller clubs struggling during the pandemic. 

Collado is the second civil guard to pass away due to coronavirus in the last week.

UEFA confirm they will not change the name of Euro 2020 and hope the stadiums and venues remain the same.

South American clubs are offering all of their facilities to emergency services to combat the pandemic. 

"Olympic flame to be a light at the end of the tunnel" says IOC chief Thomas Bach as he rules out Olympic Games being called off. 

Poppy Hills in California is re-opening with certain guidelines:

    Only 4 players in the pro shop at any one time
    Players using golf carts must ride alone. There are no exceptions
    Flagsticks will always remain in the hole.
    Please no hand, arm or bodily contact while on the property
    No passing of scorecards to other players
    Rakes have been removed from the course
    Cups will be raised an inch above the ground. If you hit the cup the stroke is considered holed.

 

Players and clubs should have no concerns about playing four matches a week to get the season finished, says Gary Neville. Even if it has to be nine games in nine days, he says a festival of football awaits us.

Etihad Airways, from the UAE, has extended the flight suspensions from Madrid and Barcelona, to and from Abu Dhabi.

This will provisionally last until 30 April.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova is trying to help inform her country of what could be ahead.

Espanyol’s Chinese owner, Chen Yansheng, has sent a message to the fans on social media. 

“Hello all Espanyol fans, we have to be conscientious with this endemic. It’s important to observe the recommendations made by the health officials. Remember that it’s important to stay at home and isolate. In China, we lived through this pandemic and we know the difficulties you are facing. We can only move forward together and get over these difficult moments.”

Serbia have closed their borders to non-essential movement which leaves their Real Madrid striker trapped.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid's pre-coronavirus progress report

Before football was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic, it had been something of an up-and-down 2019/20 season for Real Madrid, who by the start of March had relinquished top spot in LaLiga and lost to Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League last 16. Here's AS journalist Mario Cortegana's progress report on Madrid's forwards, who have accounted for just 55% of Los Blancos' goals this term.

Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson recovering

American actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, who confirmed they had contracted Covid-19 last week, are "not great" but "feeling better every day", according to Hanks' sister Sanrda. 

Sandra Hanks Benoiton told People: “Tom and Rita are doing very well and continue to recover. Their recovery is very much on course for healthy adults with this virus. They are feeling better each day.”

Earlier this week, Hanks posted an update saying the symptoms were “much the same … no fever but the blahs. Folding the laundry and doing the dishes leads to a nap on the couch.”

Fernando Simón

Deaths from coronavirus in Spain reach 1,000

Spain has now seen over 1,000 deaths from Covid-19, reported Fernando Simón, who is heading the medical response to the pandemic in the country. "Currently there are 19,988 cases in Spain, with 1,191 in intensive care. The good news is that although admissions to intensive care are lengthy (up to 28 days) we are starting to see recoveries. Unfortunately we have to report that as of today there have been 1,002 deaths. There are 10,542 people hospitalised, 42% of the total caseload."
 

Netflix and YouTube lower video quality across the EU

Both Netflix and YouTube have taken action to lower video quality across Europe to help internet providers cope with increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic, with many countries across the continent on lockdown with people confined at home, teleworking via the internet as well as streaming video as a major entertainment option. 

Yesterday the EU's industry commissioner Thierry Breton asked the internet giants to take action and they have responded, with Netflix announcing it would reduce the quality of its streams, lowering its bandwidth requirements by 25%. YouTube will now play videos in standard definition by default, substantially reducing the impact of the Google-owned video hosting site.

Thomas Bach

IOC considering "numerous scenarios"

The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, has said in an interview with the New York Times that the organisation is considering a "numerous scenarios" over the holding of this summer's games in Tokyo.

"What makes this crisis so unique and so difficult to overcome is the uncertainty. Nobody today can tell you what the developments are tomorrow, what they are in one month, not to mention in more than four months. Therefore it would not be responsible in any way to set a date or take a decision right now, which would be based on the speculation about the future developments."

The Games are scheduled to start on 24 July; Bach said that gave the IOC an advantage compared to other sports. "Of course we are considering different scenarios, but we are contrary to many other sports organizations or professional leagues in that we are four and a half months away from the Games. They are even more optimistic than we are, because most of them have postponed their events until April or the end of May. We are talking about the end of July."
 

Coronavirus cases increase in Germany

Germany has seen further increases in the number of people suffering from Covid-19, with 2,958 new cases since yesterday and a total of 13.957 confirmed sufferers. The death toll stands at 31. Germany is currently considering some form of lock-down, with a decision likely to be taken tomorrow, according to the government. 

David Frost

UK Brexit negotiator self-isolating

Yesterday we reported that the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier had tested positive for coronavirus, today the news is that his UK counterpart David Frost is self-isolating after showing symptoms of the disease. The two men have not been in physical contact since the first round of talks in Brussels two weeks ago.

There would appear to be little to no chance of the two sides making any progress in the negotiations over the EU/UK future trading relationship while the coronavirus crisis goes on. UK primer minister Boris Johnson is however stubbornly sticking to his 31 December 2020 deadline for the new relationship to come into effect. 

Cirque  du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil has announced it is temporarily laying off around 95% of its workforce - 4,679 employees - with the circus forced to close all of its 44 shows worldwide. 

"As a result of the health crisis, cities and countries where the group performs have unanimously legislated the closure of public gatherings of more than 250 people," it said.

"Consequently, the company was left with no other option but to call for an unprecedented halt in activity until the pandemic is controlled and its performers, employees and audience members are no longer at risk."
 

"We'll stop this virus all together"

Here in Spain, where citizens remain under lockdown as the health authorities look to halt the spread of the coronavirus, there have now been just over 18,000 cases of Covid-19, with the number of deaths at 832.

Spain is the second-worst affected country in Europe, behind Italy.

On Thursday, the world's tallest building, the Bhurj Khalifa in Dubai, was lit up in tribute to the Spanish health professionals who are fighting to battle the virus, with the message: "We'll stop this virus all together".

People in Spain are also gathering at their windows at 20:00 each evening to applaud the work the country's health service is doing.  

Italy death toll now greater than in China

On Thursday, Italy overtook China as the country with the highest coronavirus death toll in the world. According to data gathered by El País at 09:00 this morning, 3,405 have now died in the country as a result of Covid-19, around 150 more than in China, where the outbreak began. 

Zidane

"Zidane to be kept on, whatever happens"

This morning's AS front page leads with the news that the coronavirus pandemic has directly affected the future of Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, whose position at the Bernabéu was up for review at the end of the season.

However, the upheaval caused by the ongoing crisis has now forced Madrid's hierarchy to make decisions about next season earlier than plannedleading them to assure the Frenchman's position beyond the summer

Real Madrid's squad and coaching staff are currently in quarantine after Trey Thompkins, who plays for the Los Blancos' basketball team and shares training spaces with the club's footballers, tested positive for Covid-19. 

If you're looking for up-to-date figures on the spread of coronavirus, by the way, this dashboard created by Johns Hopkins University in the US is very useful.

Coronavirus global death toll now over 10,000

Good morning and welcome to our live blog on the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic, which at the latest count has infected 244,533 people around the world, and now has a death toll that has ticked over the 10,000 mark.

We'll endeavour to bring you key updates in this ongoing crisis, not only in terms of the way it affects sport, but also its impact on the world as a whole.

 

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