West Ham United star Angelo Ogbonna says England “laughed” at Italy over the coronavirus pandemic and says the UK handled the emergency “superficially”.
The Italian centre-back, whose wife is expecting their second child, does not believe that the U.K. took the issue seriously with the country acting too late.
Ogbonna, who signed for the Hammers in July 2015 for £15m after leaving Juventus, also thinks that the U.K. Government were trying to protect the country economically after Brexit.
“Initially there was scepticism, the emergency was handled superficially,” he told Tuttomercatoweb.
“I think there was also an intention to try to protect the country economically after Brexit.
“They underestimated a very serious, global issue. Initially they laughed at us [Italy], they thought we were exaggerating and exasperating the matter.
“I live in London, but I was immediately worried about us and my family in Italy. I have to tell you the truth, at least in London there was concern. Empty supermarkets, fewer people around. But London is not England.”
Football has been suspended until April 30 at the earliest, while 31-year-old Ogbonna believes concern has been growing this week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for the Covid-19 disease.
“We train from home. We have our guidelines, given by [coach David] Moyes and his staff. We keep the club informed daily.
“The problem is that we live in an apartment. For some players, the accommodation is still temporary and, for ad-hoc preparation, it will take time.
“It’s right to think that we will need a month to get back in shape. The problem, however, is that you have no way of training how you would like.”
Ogbonna, who lives in an apartment in London with his partner and son, says it has been difficult for her.
“It’s a particular situation. Living abroad makes it even more difficult, for us but also for our partners. We already have a son and we are waiting for the second in a month, and it’s hard for her,” he added.
“There’s no support from our parents, as on the occasion of the first child. There was an important and helping hand there, also in terms of presence. Here, we are limited.
“I do and we do everything possible, but it’s clear that you must give the same importance to the child who is there, as much as the one who is arriving, all in a quarantine situation. You also discover things that you took for granted in everyday life.”
Ogbonna sent a message to Italy over the deadly virus as the country appears to be one of the worst hit in the world.
He added: “I want to thank the doctors in Italy who are taking care of the people, the sick, the infected, those who take risks every day.
“My family are in Cassino, the situation is difficult everywhere, also there. My partner’s are in Turin, where we almost always stay every time we go back. They are in lockdown, it seems like a film.”