Former Manchester United Star Caught in Coronavirus Epicenter Says Treat Anyone Outside 'As If They Have the Virus'

Former Manchester United captain Ashley Young has revealed what life is like in Italy during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, urging the public to treat anyone outside their household as if they were COVID-19 positive.

Young swapped the Premier League for Serie A in January, leaving United after eight-and-a-half seasons to join Inter Milan. Less than two months later, Italian authorities implemented a nationwide lockdown as the country struggled to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lombardy, the region in which Milan is located, is Italy's worst-affected area. As of Wednesday morning, Italy had the second-highest number of cases outside mainland China, with more than 69,100 infected, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak using combined data sources. The death toll in Italy stands at 6,820 — the highest in the world.

Soccer in Italy has been suspended until April 3 and Young took time to share his experience while living in lockdown.

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In a series of tweets on Tuesday, the Inter Milan defender warned the extreme measures were not an overreaction, but necessary to help turn the tide against the pandemic.

"This may sound harsh but treat everybody that's not in your household as if they have the virus," he said.

"You just don't know! Most importantly, just stay safe! This is what we are doing here, it's not an overreaction, it's staying safe. And just remember others should be looking at you in this way as well. It's not horrible, it's a way of keeping your distance to ultimately help save lives."

Earlier in the thread, Young explained how shopping in a supermarket poses the biggest threat to contract the virus and went on to detail how people should protect themselves.

"Realistically a supermarket is now your main risk at spreading this virus and even catching it," he wrote.

"In Italy going to the supermarket is surprisingly calm... no fights over food, no stripped shelves and most certainly no abusing staff members for limiting food or any reason at all! And in almost every case it's usually just one person shopping for a household!"

Young noted that in Italy he had not witnessed the kind of panic-buying that was reported in the U.S. and in Britain, as a limited number of people were allowed inside supermarkets at any one time.

He explained queuing to get into a supermarket was standard practice but "not because it's for stockpiling or greed," but to ensure they never got overcrowded.

"Wait and be patient to go in if your supermarket is doing this," he continued, before advising the public to use gloves from the moment they stepped out of their car, along with a scarf or face mask to protect their mouths.

"Always use gloves from moment you get out of your car! You don't want to touch trolleys that other hands have been on. Keep the gloves on until you are getting back in the car," he explained.

"Use a face mask or scarf to keep your nose and mouth covered."

Young, who won every trophy bar the Champions League during his spell with United, then urged readers to strictly adhere to social distancing measures.

"Always keep your distance at the till," he wrote. "Keep the trolley behind you when you unpack at the till as it stops people from being able to to get too close.

"Don't unpack your shopping right on top of somebody else's, make a gap between theirs and yours so none of your shopping touches theirs."

Over 18,900 people have died since the outbreak of coronavirus began in Wuhan, a city located in China's central Hubei province, late last year. There are over 423,000 cases globally, with more than 108,000 recovered.

Ashley Young, Inter Milan
Ashley Young holds the ball during the Serie A match between Inter Milan and Cagliari at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 26 in Milan, Italy. Emilio Andreoli/Getty
Former Manchester United Star Caught in Coronavirus Epicenter Says Treat Anyone Outside 'As If They Have the Virus' | Sports