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Coronavirus latest: Gareth Southgate joins calls for people to stay at home

Coronavirus latest: Gareth Southgate joins calls for people to stay at home
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England manager says: 'We are all in the midst of a global battle.'

England manager Gareth Southgate has joined other leading sports figures in urging people to “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives” during the coronavirus pandemic.

The nation has been in lockdown since the start of the week as the authorities look to curb the spread of Covid-19, with 759 people so far having died in the UK after testing positive for the disease.

Support was shown to NHS workers and others who have been battling the coronavirus in a touching moment’s applause across the nation on Thursday evening.

Now sports stars are showing their appreciation by teaming up with the NHS to hammer home the message of saving lives by staying home, with England manager Southgate among those involved.

“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,” the Three Lions boss said on Friday, when his side were due to face Italy in a friendly.

“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.”

Southgate was among those supporting the NHS’ #StayHomeSaveLives social media campaign, with online messages starting at 8pm on Friday – the time England were supposed to kick off against Italy, a country ravaged by coronavirus.

Wembley was lit in the colours of the Italian flag for 90 minutes from that time in a show of solidarity, with giant screens adjacent displaying the message ‘Siamo separati, ma siamo insieme. Forza Italia #DistantiMaUniti’, which translates as ‘We are separate, but we are together. Come on Italy #DistantButUnited’.

England star Raheem Sterling, who was in line to start the match, is due to be among the other football figures, along with the likes of Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Lionesses captain Steph Houghton, who will urge fans to stay at home.

“Last night’s show of support for the NHS shows how much we appreciate them and how we are all coming together to get through this as quickly and as safely as we can,” Houghton said.

“Football will return and we will appreciate it a little more for the joy it brings but for now stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Others joining the campaign include British basketball player Justin Robinson, England Test captain Joe Root and women’s skipper Heather Knight.

Root said: “We’re normally doing our best to get you out of the house to pick up a bat or to get to a match but at the moment we all need to stay inside and do our own little bit to keep people safe.

“If we all work together to stay inside then we can help those working flat-out on the frontlines to save lives.”

This campaign is the latest way sport is attempting to help the country through the Covid-19 pandemic, while the NHS hopes that social media messages will help reinforce the message to the public.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “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.”

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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