“Teamwork” to fight the virus. India “closes” the country

In a country that is home to over 1.3 billion people, the Indian Government has decided to introduce drastic measures to contain the spread of the virus. According to data from the Indian Ministry of Health (https://www.mohfw.gov.in/), the number of incoming passengers to the country’s airports so far is more than 1.5 million, and although there are relatively few cases of Covid-19, the numbers are growing. The letter from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Doletter_secretary.pdf) dated 24 March 2020, refers to an order from the National Disaster Management Authority addressed to all the authorities of the federation, imposing “blocking measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19”.

In numerical terms, after China, this total lockdown involves the largest number of people in one country, and is expected to last until 21 April. The photos and videos of the deserted streets of this densely populated country are perhaps among the most symbolic images of what is happening in many cities around the world.

According to the latest statistics released by the World Health Organization, there were 375,498 certified cases just before midnight on 24 March, involving 196 countries or territories, and 16,362 deaths. In many countries, a number of different types of measures are being taken in response: while in India, as we’ve seen, a kind of curfew has been imposed, in the United States, in agreement with the White House, a bipartisan agreement has given the green light from the Senate to unlock a radical two trillion dollars to help workers, businesses and the national health system.

Fortunately, there has been no shortage of other acts of solidarity. For example, FIFA, the international football governing body, and the World Health Organisation have launched a new awareness-raising campaign (https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/23-03-2020-pass-the-message-five-steps-to-kicking-out-coronavirus) led by world-renowned footballers. It invites the whole world to follow five key steps to stop the spread of the disease: wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid touching your face, keep your distance, and if you’re sick follow local guidelines and stay at home.

The “Pass the message: Five steps to kicking out coronavirus” campaign is a simple way to promote five key steps that people must follow to protect their health in line with WHO advice. The launch of the initiative was attended by the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus,” said Infantino, using a football metaphor to clearly explain the initiative. Twenty-eight players are involved in the video campaign, released in 13 languages. They are:

Sami Al Jaber (KSA), Alisson Becker (BRA), Emre Belözoğlu (TUR), Jared Borgetti (MEX), Gianluigi Buffon (ITA), Iker Casillas (ESP), Sunil Chhetri (IND), Youri Djorkaeff (FRA), Han Duan (CHN), Samuel Eto'o (CMR), Radamel Falcao (COL), Laura Georges (FRA), Valeri Karpin (RUS), Miroslav Klose (GER), Philipp Lahm (GER), Gary Lineker (ENG), Carli Lloyd (USA), Lionel Messi (ARG), Mido (EGY), Michael Owen (ENG), Park Ji-sung (KOR), Carles Puyol (ESP), Célia Šašić (GER), Asako Takakura (JPN), Yaya Touré (CIV), Juan Sebastián Verón (ARG), Sun Wen (CHN) and Xavi Hernández (ESP).