'Our neglect has helped the disease spread': Khabib issues plea for fans and fellow Dagestanis to heed coronavirus lockdown advice
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has urged his fans and fellow Dagestanis not to flout Covid-19 lockdown rules as he penned a note of concern about the situation in his homeland.
Addressing his almost 20 million Instagram followers in Russian, Khabib wrote: "In this holy month [of Ramadan] I would like to appeal to all Dagestanis and to all who know me.
"Many hoped that this trouble would pass our house by; many still don't believe in the seriousness of the situation.
"However, our negligect towards the advice and requests of doctors, coupled with the panic that has developed among the people, has led to a high rate of the spread of the disease, worsening an already difficult situation every day.
"This has led to the fact that our hospitals are now overcrowded with patients, there aren't enough specialists or drugs, and the number of patients is only growing," the unbeaten fighter warned.
Khabib has seen his father Abdulmanap, 57, hospitalized in recent days, although he reportedly returned a negative test for Covid-19 and is instead being treated for suspected pneumonia, and is believed to be recovering.
READ MORE: 'I feel fine': Khabib Nurmagomedov's father Abdulmanap in good spirits after being hospitalized with suspected pneumonia
Khabib's teammate Shamil Zavurov has also reportedly fallen ill in recent days, and was said to be suffering with symptoms of the flu.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that citizens must self-isolate until at least May 11 as the country braces itself for the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic, with cases reaching more than 95,000 and more than 860 confirmed deaths.
Khabib cautioned his followers to remain careful and not to flout lockdown rules in place.
"Believe me. This disease is deadly and we already feel it," Khabib said.
"Staying at home, we can reduce the burden on doctors and hospitals, and perhaps our timely care will save lives.
"Take care of your loved ones, do not let them out of the house unnecessarily.
"May Allah protect us all from all diseases and cure the sick and loved ones all around the world," he added.Also on rt.com Return of 'The Eagle': UFC boss Dana White confirms timeframe for Khabib Nurmagomedov's UFC comeback
Khabib saw his most recent blockbuster title fight against Tony Ferguson fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic, as the UFC lightweight champion found himself stranded in Russia after leaving the US when his training base was shut down.
Ferguson will now face fellow American Justin Gaethje on May 9 in Florida, with the winner tipped to meet Khabib when he returns in September or October.