Derry City in lockdown to prevent spread of coronavirus
DECLAN DEVINE insists Derry City will go into lockdown as it takes the necessary measures to ensure the safety of its players and employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The FAI yesterday announced the immediate postponement of League of Ireland fixtures until at least March 29th after Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar’s recommendation that all outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people should be banned in light of the growing threat posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
City boss, Devine has backed the suspension in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and insisted the club will follow FAI guidelines and take its own preventative measures.
Devine has players from Norway, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Belgium, England and Scotland within his ranks but he insists the club isn’t ‘on holidays’ despite the suspension of games and stressed the importance of his players remaining in Derry until the ban is lifted.
Devine believes it’s paramount the players remain in the city so as not to run the risk of contracting coronavirus and so they are ready to return to training once given the green light by the authorities.
“We’ve got to be careful, first and foremost. If people were to leave the country we’ve got to make sure they’re able to get back and we can’t guarantee that with the way things are looking,” said the Derry boss.
“There are countries shutting down but we’re not on holiday. We are very much preparing for whatever we’re told and ensuring we’re ready to play games.
“We were really looking forward to Sligo but it’s completely out of our hands now,” added Devine. “The welfare of the people, the players, the staff, the supporters is paramount.
“In terms of having to plan, it’s going to be a logistical nightmare. I’m sure other clubs will be feeling the pinch themselves but we’re very fortunate that the players are all living in the city which gives us the option of people coming in on a daily basis to train. That’s obviously dependant on facilities being open.
“We have to stick to the guidelines but also make sure that when football resumes we’re in a good place. Everyone is in a situation where (the virus) can spread very easily so we have to make sure we give ourselves every chance to stay free from it. Once one player in our league gets the virus then it runs the risk of escalating out of control and that’s the worry.
“This three week period could end up being five weeks. Five weeks could end up being seven weeks, we just don’t know.
“All we can do is take care of our own environment and hopefully we can stay clear of whatever’s coming the way to the people of Ireland - that’s the reality of it.”