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Tuesday 24 Mar 2020
GAWA urged to follow official guidance to combat coronavirus

Northern Ireland’s team doctor is urging members of the GAWA and all footballers and football fans in the country to heed the latest advice aimed at tackling coronavirus.

Dr David White, a consultant in sports medicine in Manchester and also a doctor at Premiership side Burnley, said everyone should follow the guidelines issued by Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency as well as the latest Government advice.

“We are living in unprecedented times and everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading. Your actions today and over the coming weeks can save lives in Northern Ireland,” he stressed.

The latest Government advice says people should stay at home and only go shopping infrequently for basic necessities such as food and medicine. And it recommends one form of exercise a day such as a run, walk, or cycle, which should be done alone or only with people you live with.

The PHA insists social distancing should be observed if people do go out and about.

It insists social distancing will help to reduce the transmission of coronavirus by reducing the social interaction between people.

And it advises everyone should avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus - these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.

It further asks the public to avoid gatherings with friends and family. It is encouraging people to keep in touch by using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media – and to use telephone or online services to contact their GP or other essential services.

Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose

Dr White said: “Everyone should be trying to follow these measures and to avoid face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if they are aged over 70, have a chronic medical condition (underlying health problems) or are pregnant.”

The senior men’s team doctor repeated PHA advice that the best way to prevent the spread of infections, including coronavirus, is good personal hygiene. 

“Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose,” he said.

“You should also wash your hands after being in public areas where other people are coughing or sneezing. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.

“And if you cough or sneeze use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, throw it away carefully after use, and wash your hands.”

He also urged people to clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. 

Dr White further advised: “Natural immune systems can be optimised with good sleep, reduced stress levels, and some daily physical activity. Fruit and vegetables should make up part of your diet, and supplementary Vitamin C and Zinc is advised.”

Main image: Northern Ireland senior men's team doctor Dr David White with manager Michael O'Neill