Manchester United and Manchester City stars have joined forces to back the NHS call to stay at home during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Raheem Sterling and Man City Women and England Lionesses captain Steph Houghton were among those to post short video messages on Saturday afternoon.
They follow a statement from England manager Gareth Southgate on Friday night and aim to promote the NHS’ social media campaign #StayHomeSaveLives.
The health service hopes stars can use their huge social media following to encourage the public to follow government advice and reduce chances of transmission.
In his video, Raheem Sterling said: “Let’s help our NHS by staying home. Only leave your house if you need essential food, medicine or exercise.
“The NHS has been doing a fantastic job, so let’s help them continue doing their wonderful work by just staying at home and protecting our NHS and saving lives.
“And how are we going to save lives? By staying at home. Come on guys.”
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) March 28, 2020
Videos were posted shortly after 3pm to mark the moment many football games would have been kicking off across the nation.
Manchester United posted a brief message from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who simply said: “Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 28, 2020
Steph Houghton’s post was straight to the point too and highlighted the Government’s advice.
Speaking ahead of the weekend, she said: “Whilst so many of us love watching and playing football and sport in general, it’s not important at the moment.
“[Thursday 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.
“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.”
— Steph Houghton MBE (@stephhoughton2) March 28, 2020
While football halted as the crisis continues, both Manchester clubs have come together to donate £100,000 to local food banks.
They’ve also been checking in on older supporters over the phone and Man City have offered the Etihad Stadium’s conference rooms and executive suits to be used by the NHS.
Other sports have also been forced to cancel their fixtures while the nation attempts to tackle the pandemic, which has led to over 1,000 UK deaths so far.
England cricket’s test captain Joe Root and England’s women cricket captain Heather Knight also posted videos calling on their fans to stay at home.
Earlier this week, 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 week saw the public rally behind the health service with over 700,000 people volunteering to be part of the NHS Helpforce.
The NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis is pleased to see some of the country’s biggest sporting names doing their bit too.
He said: “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.”
Anyone can spread coronavirus. You must now:
Only go out when absolutely necessary for food, medicine, work or exercise
Always stay 2 metres apart
— NHS (@NHSuk) March 24, 2020