Maintain social distancing, urge sports star

Kathmandu, March 22

At a time when all the sporting activities have been suspended due to novel coronavirus outbreak worldwide, star athletes have urged fans and stakeholders to stay at home to avoid the transmission of the pandemic COVID-19.

Four-time South Asian Games gold medal winner Deepak Bista requested all to follow the instructions of the government to help stop spread of the virus. “The government has instructed all of us to stay at home and maintain social distancing,” Olympian taekwondo ace Bista wrote on Facebook, while lauding Nepal Olympic Committee’s efforts in forming a panel of experts to raise awareness on athletes.

Bista also urged all the athletes, fans and each individual to keep washing hands at regular interval. The NOC had conducted an awareness programme aimed at educating the athletes selected for the Tokyo Olympic Games wildcards and also announced a five-member team of doctors and experts led by Dr Saroj Krishna Shrestha to combat the pandemic virus which has hit the world badly.

Former national cricket team skipper Paras Khadka urged people to take responsibility and precautions. “Let us all take the responsibility, take all necessary precautions, share useful INFORMATION ONLY and help our government to overcome this situation,”

Khadka wrote on twitter with hashtag COVID-19.

The first Nepali athlete to qualify for Olympics, Sangina Baidya thanked the NOC for organising the awareness programme.

“Thanks to NOC family for the Awareness Programme for athletes on COV- ID-19,” the two-time SA Games gold medal-winning taekwondo player Baidya wrote. “Stay safe from the coronavirus and help others,” she added.

Star leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane urged fans to stay safe from coronavirus. “Stay safe from COVID-19. Use preventive measures to protect yourselves and your loved ones!” wrote Lamichhane on his Facebook page.

Meanwhile, the All Nepal Football Association offered to provide the government with its academy hostels in Lalitpur, Butwal, Dharan and Rautahat for temporary quarantine and isolation. “The government and World Health Organisation have already urged citizens to change their lifestyle and stay in quarantine and isolation. In this context, we are ready to provide our facilities to the government if needed,” said ANFA in a release.

Apart from posting informatory messages on its Facebook page, the ANFA also urged all the stakeholders to “unite in this hour of grief to fight against the pandemic virus.”

National football team skipper Sujal Shrestha asked people to stay safe and healthy. “Stay one step ahead of virus, Stay Safe and Healthy!! Please follow the instructions given by the WHO. Together we all can!” wrote Shrestha on Facebook.