| 9.7°C Belfast

'You will save lives': Paddy Barnes, Stuart Dallas and Stephen Ferris join sporting calls for public to follow advice



Paddy Barnes

Paddy Barnes

Stuart Dallas

Stuart Dallas

Paddy Barnes

Northern Ireland sports personalities have pleaded with the public to follow advice on social distancing.

Boxing star Paddy Barnes, footballer Stuart Dallas and World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea were among a plethora of local stars driving home the message.

Barnes said people had to realise that ignoring advice could put parents, grandparents and friends at risk amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two-time Olympic bronze medallist read a message that he said was on behalf of intensive care doctors, and directed it to "young people and basically everyone else".

In the video, posted on Twitter, Barnes said: "If you ignore what I'm about to say, you will kill people. Not just anyone, your parents, your grandparents and your friends. Your world is about to change as you know it so please, please listen to what I have to say.

"Stay inside, wash your hands and do not go out unless it is absolutely necessary.

"By doing this, you will save lives."

Dallas, who plays for Leeds United and Northern Ireland, said: "We need to sacrifice these next couple of months, and if we do that all together we will save lives."

In a direct appeal to young people, five-time Superbike champion Rea, from Ballyclare, added: "Kids, being off school doesn't mean get together with all your mates and have massive social gatherings and house parties.

"It means practising social distancing.

"We are off for a reason. We have to be clever and beat this."

Ulster Rugby hero Stephen Ferris also joined the calls, appealing to anyone thinking of heading to tourist hot-spots.

He said: "I hope that you're all doing well and that you're doing your best to adhere to what the government and the NHS want us to do to try and help them. Yes we can help them. We're not at the coalface seeing what this virus is doing to people on a daily basis but we can help them but keeping our social distancing, by continuing to wash our hands and staying in the house as much as possible.

"Yes we want to get some fresh air and clear our heads but please keep your social distancing. No going to Tyrella Beach or the Portstewart Strand and standing in queues for ice-creams or anything. There has to be an element of common sense."

Belfast Telegraph