'A supermarket is now your main risk': Star lifts lid on virus epicentre

Ashley Young (L) has revealed what life is like in Milan amid the COVID-19 crisis. Pic: Getty

Former England and Manchester United star Ashley Young has opened up about the scary reality of life in COVID-19's epicentre, Italy.

Now playing with Inter Milan, Young has provided a frightening account of what daily life entails in the worst-hit country in the world.

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Italy has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths (more than 6,800) than any other country and just recorded its second-worst daily death toll, with another 743 confirmed casualties.

The European epicentre of the global pandemic, Italy accounts for around a third of all coronavirus deaths worldwide, with the total number of confirmed cases surpassing 69,100.

The nation of 60 million people is in lockdown and Young says the situation in Milan is particularly grim.

Posting to Twitter, Young revealed the anxiety about simply going grocery shopping, while urging people to heed the advice of health professionals when it comes to safe practices.

"Hi everyone, just wanted to share my thoughts given I'm currently living in Italy, the epicentre of the virus," the 34-year-old Englishman wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

"Realistically a supermarket is now your main risk at spreading this virus and even catching it. Speaking with family and friends at home it sounds like going to get food is just crazy. Remember, lockdown means lockdown!

"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!

"Please read the following and share this if you haven't already, it really is time to do your bit to help tackle this awful global crisis we are in!

"Queuing to go into supermarket is standard, but not because it's for stockpiling or greed. Supermarkets have limited the number of people entering at any time so it's never over-crowded! So wait and be patient to go in if your supermarket is doing this.

"If you have to get in the lift only get in with one more person, two people per lift at one time. And stand on opposite sides of the lift and face the wall – don't breathe outwards towards that stranger.

"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.

"Use a face mask or scarf to keep your nose and mouth covered. Always keep your distance at the till. Keep the trolley behind you when you unpack at the till as it stops people from being able 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. Here we can't put our groceries on the belt until the person in front has finished paying.

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

Football world digs deep for COVID-19 cause

Young's message comes amid a number of generous donations from the football world, spearheaded by global superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo and super agent Jorge Mendes have donated €1 million ($A 1.8 million) to help three intensive care units (ICUs) in their native Portugal.

The pair’s donation will go towards buying crucial equipment for ICUs at Lisbon’s Santa Maria Hospital and the Santo Antonio hospital in Porto.

The president of the board of Centro Hospitalar Universitario do Porto, Paulo Barbosa, laid out exactly how Ronaldo and Mendes’ contribution would help the ICU.

"This unit will allow the opening of 15 intensive care beds, fully equipped with fans, monitors and other equipment," Barbosa said.

"The Centro Hospitalar Universitario do Porto thanks Cristiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes for this very useful initiative, at a time when the country needs everyone so much."

Mendes had already provided 1,000 masks and 200,000 protective gowns to the Sao Joao hospital in Porto last week as well as ordering eight further ventilators and to be distributed to hospitals across Portugal.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have both made generous donations in the fight against COVID-19. Pic: Getty

Messi and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola have each made similar $1.8 million donations.

Messi – a six-time Ballon d'Or winner – made a contribution that will be split between Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and another medical centre in his home country.

"Leo Messi made a donation to the clinic to fight the coronavirus," Hospital Clinic wrote on Twitter.

"Thank you very much, Leo, for your commitment and your support."

Former Barcelona player and manager Guardiola made his contribution to a campaign launched by the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation and Medical College of Barcelona.

“Pep Guardiola has made a donation of one million euros to the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation for the acquisition and supply of health equipment to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a statement from the College.

“The donation campaign promoted by the Medical College of Barcelona and managed through the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation aims to collect medical materials and financial contributions from collegiate doctors and the general population, for the purchase of medical equipment and equipment that is currently lacking in health centres in Catalonia.

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with agencies