Ronaldo Returns To Juventus Training After Two Months

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his second penalty, and his 50th goal with Juventus, during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Fiorentina on February 2, 2020, at the Juventus Allianz stadium in Turin. PHOTO: Marco Bertorello / AFP


Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training with Juventus in Turin on Tuesday after an absence of over two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 35-year-old arrived at the Juventus Training Centre in a Jeep with tinted windows around 09:20 (0720 GMT), leaving three hours later with a smile and thumbs up for waiting photographers.

Ronaldo underwent medical and physical tests before joining up with his teammates for the first time in 72 days for individual training, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Usain Bolt And Partner Welcome Baby Girl

Coach Maurizio Sarri has been conducting training in small groups since Monday, pending the final health protocol to be agreed with the Italian government.

Juventus players got back to individual training on May 4, the day Ronaldo returned to Italy after spending lockdown in his native Portugal.

For the past two weeks, he has been in quarantine in his villa in Turin.

Ronaldo played in Juventus’ last Serie A game before the season was suspended, a 2-0 win over Inter Milan behind closed doors at the Allianz Stadium on March 8.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is the first Juventus foreign player, among those who left Italy during the lockdown, to return to the team’s Continassa training centre.

Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 32,000 deaths.

League leaders Juventus are leading Lazio by one point as they target a ninth consecutive ‘Scudetto’.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced on Monday that all its competitions, including Serie A, will remain suspended until June 14.

Serie A had hoped to return on June 13 but the FIGC has pushed back the date in line with a government decree that all sports competitions be suspended until next month.

The FIGC said the choice was made “pending any further… decision by the authorities”, suggesting the possibility of a restart on June 13 might still exist.

But Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday he needed “more guarantees” before the green light could finally be given for football to resume.

A meeting is planned in the near future between Conte and Italian football bosses.

The government’s technical and scientific committee will decide in the coming days if it accepts the new health protocols proposed for a return to group training and competition.


COVID-19 Deaths Top 270,000 Worldwide

A health worker helps his colleague with his PPE during a community testing as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV


The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 270,000 people worldwide since it began in China late last year, with more than 85 percent of fatalities in Europe and the United States, according to an AFP tally compiled from official figures at 1615 GMT on Friday.

In total, 270,927 deaths have been reported across the globe from 3,877,772 confirmed cases.

Europe is the most affected continent with 153,367 deaths and 1,678,485 cases. The United States is the country with the most deaths at 75,781, followed by Britain with 31,241, Italy 30,201, Spain 26,299 and France  25,987.



IOC Postpones Tokyo Olympics Till Next Year


The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to no later than the summer of 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday.

The Games were scheduled for July 24-August 9, but after telephone discussions between IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a historic joint decision was taken for the first postponement of an Olympics in peacetime.

Abe had earlier said Bach was in “100 percent agreement” when Japan asked the IOC to push back the Games.

The IOC had come under pressure in recent days to postpone the world’s biggest sporting event, with teams, athletes and sports bodies all calling for a delay.

READ ALSO: IOC Urged To Make Quick Olympic Decision As US Backs Postponement 

The postponement comes after top federations announced they would pull out of the Tokyo Games, the highest-profile event to be affected by a virus that has decimated the sporting calendar.

Around 1.7 billion people across the world are in lockdown to prevent the further spread of a virus which according to an AFP tally has killed over 16,200 people and infected more than 377,000.


COVID-19: Nasarawa Govt Orders Closure Of Schools

In view of the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Nasarawa State government has ordered the closure of all public schools in the state.

The state Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Fati Jimeta Sabo made the announcement at an emergency meeting with Directors, Chief Evaluation Officers and Association of Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Not Among First 100 Happiest Countries In The World – Report

Also, the Commissioner directed all school principals across secondary schools in the state, to hasten and complete ongoing examination latest on Thursday,  March 26.

Students are to proceed on vacation until further notice.

The statement issued by the education ministry reads: “Following the growing concern and gradual spread of Coronavirus popularly known as COVID19, the State Ministry of Education Science and Technology, has directed principals of public secondary schools in the  state to  complete their second term examination latest Thursday 26 of March 2020, and proceed for vocation.”

The directive is coming on the heels of recent reports indicating that five members of a family in Keffi, have been quarantined at the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, suspected to have contracted the disease.

Three Billion People Lack Basic Protection Against Coronavirus – UN Experts

Children learn how to wash hands for prevention of the COVID-19 as local NGO Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) installs hand washing stations at Kibera slum in Nairobi, on March 18, 2020. PHOTO: Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP


As nations around the world fight the coronavirus pandemic with mass lockdowns and travel bans, UN experts warn that some three billion people lack even the most basic weapons to protect themselves: soap and running water.

The outbreak has infected some 200,000 people and killed 9,000, scorching through populations across the globe after emerging in China late last year.

While Europe has become the centre of the battle against the virus, closing borders and sequestering millions of people in their homes, concerns are rising for developing nations with fragile healthcare systems.

Countries across Africa and Asia have heavily restricted travel, imposed quarantines and closed schools, with fears for impoverished communities as infections begin to grow.


But one of the most fundamental practices individuals can adopt to shield themselves from COVID-19 — thorough hand washing — remains inaccessible for many millions.

Using household survey data, the United Nations Children’s Fund estimates 40 percent of the world’s population, or three billion people, do not have the means to wash their hands at home.

Sam Godfrey, UNICEF chief of water and sanitation in east and southern Africa, said communities lack easily accessible running water, are unable to buy soap or do not realise its vital role in preventing illness.

“Even for the frontline workers, the health workers, there remains a challenge also in terms of understanding of the importance of handwashing,” he told AFP.

With the first infections in the region often coming from those who have traveled internationally, Godfrey described the outbreak as “almost like a rich man’s disease for Africa, which, of course, will end up with the poor man suffering the most”.

Those living in tightly-packed slums, as well as the large refugee populations in camps and urban areas in the Horn of Africa, are particularly at risk because they may be malnourished or have underlying health problems. And they often lack sanitation.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 63 percent of people in urban areas — 258 million people — lack access to handwashing, according to the UNICEF figures. In central and south Asia this figure is 22 percent or 153 million people.

But at the Mathare slum in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Thursday, people shrugged off the risk.

“Have you seen any of those people in the hospital come from the slum? That is a disease for the rich,” Ishmail Ayegah, a bicycle repairman, told AFP.

‘Deeply concerned’

The World Health Organisation has sounded the alarm about the potentially devastating consequences of an outbreak that has pushed even wealthy nations to the limit.

“As the virus moves to low-income countries, we’re deeply concerned about the impact it could have among populations with high HIV prevalence, or among malnourished children,” chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week.

Sharon Lewin, director of The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, told AFP the pandemic had highlighted “incredible discrepancies” in global health systems.

“We have not even seen yet what COVID-19 is going to do in parts of Asia — Indonesia, India — and Africa,” she said.

While European countries hunt for hospital ventilators, in Africa the pandemic has caused fears of soap shortages.

UNICEF is distributing supply for a million people, but Godfrey said replenishing stocks has become a challenge in countries that import soap, with restrictions hampering supply from China and India.

Best weapon

Soap may have been around for centuries but health experts say it is still the best and cheapest way to scrub viruses, bacteria, and dirt off hands.

This “fantastic” substance detaches the virus from the skin, said Evariste Kouassi-Komlan, UNICEF’s regional director for water, sanitation, and hygiene in east Asia and the Pacific. In the case of the coronavirus, it can also break apart the virus itself.

“Some people wash their hands only with water, but it’s not enough,” he said.

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers can also be used against coronavirus, but they do not work against all pathogens and Kouassi-Komlan said they were only recommended when soap and water were unavailable.

He said while Indonesia and the Philippines have significant populations living in urban slums — and rising virus infections — UNICEF was focusing on countries without basic hygiene programmes like Laos and North Korea.

‘We don’t need it’

While the virus presents a severe challenge to developing nations, Godfrey said governments, aid groups, and communities in parts of Africa could draw on experiences and lessons from tackling major outbreaks like Ebola and cholera.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola stopped people from shaking hands, so they started bumping elbows.

“So there was social acceptance but without having to touch the palms of the hands, which were the areas where potentially there could have been a transfer of the virus,” he said.

“The Ebola handshake has become the corona handshake.”

Experts hope that the pandemic will also sharpen governments’ focus on sanitation and reinforce the message that hand washing saves lives.

In Kenya, where there is a large refugee and urban poor population, the hashtag #SanitizersForSlums has been trending on Twitter.

But others seem unconvinced.

Mathare slum fishmonger Scholarstica Atieno said he saw no need for handwashing.

“We are not interested in sanitisers because we have never died for not using sanitisers. We don’t need it,” he said.