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29 Mar, 2020 09:54

Coronavirus pandemic is like CHERNOBYL, says Ukraine legend Shevchenko

Coronavirus pandemic is like CHERNOBYL, says Ukraine legend Shevchenko

Ukrainian football great Andriy Shevchenko says there are “similarities” between the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in his homeland in 1986.

The former Chelsea and AC Milan star, 43, is currently in lockdown at his home just outside London, and says the feeling is similar to what he experienced as a child in Kiev in the wake of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

“I’ve been locked in for almost 10 days,” the Ukraine icon told Sky Sport Italia.

“I experienced a very similar situation when I was nine years old and the Chernobyl power plant [disaster] broke out.

“It was a difficult time. The only solution is to believe in government decisions. We don’t have to do stupid things, especially not leaving the house."


“We don’t know if we have the virus or not, there are many people who can be infected and carry the virus with them, continuing to pass it on to other people without symptoms.

“We mustn’t only think about ourselves but also the many other people we can infect,” he said.

After the Chernobyl disaster struck in April of 1986, a 1,622 sq mile human exclusion zone was established around the area due to the severe radiation leakage.

Radiation was detected across Europe and around 300,000 residents were permanently evacuated from their homes.

The tragedy is still considered the worst nuclear power pant disaster of all time.

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Amid the current viral pandemic, Shevchenko paid tribute to medical staff around the world grappling with Covid-19 cases, expressing hope that things would return to normal with time.  

“We live this difficult moment with hope, hope that things will improve. The only solution is to respect the rules laid out by the government, stay at home and give doctors the opportunity to do their job," the 2004 Ballon d'Or winner said.

“All the doctors in the world are doing a great job, the nurses, volunteers... thank you so much for all that you’re doing for us. You’re truly the heroes of our time.” 


As the head coach of Ukraine, Shevchenko guided his nation to the Euro 2020 finals, topping a group which contained Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal – the reigning champions.

However, Shevchenko and the other qualifiers will be forced to wait to compete at the pan-European tournament after UEFA delayed it to the summer of 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis.

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