ANKARA 

Fenerbahce Beko’s Italian forward Luigi Datome is proud of Turkey for helping his country respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Italy is among the countries worst hit by the outbreak. 

”I feel grateful and proud of Turkey. Unfortunately, only bad news comes out from the media. If I am not wrong, it was one of the first few countries to help Italy,” he told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday. “I am proud of this. I hope this news will be covered by the media.”

Turkey has sent protective face and eye masks, overalls and anti-bacterial fluids, among other items, to a number of states including Italy and Spain, its NATO allies.

The basketball player said Turkey’s social distancing measures were proving to be effective.

”I am happy with the numbers [coronavirus cases in Turkey]. I shared stories on social media in Turkish to draw attention to the virus, even before it spread throughout the country,” he said. “Restrictions work well because people stay at home and avoid getting infected. I hope it is getting better.”

Datome is currently residing in the Italian island of Sardinia, where he spends his time reading books and training indoors.

”Today, the second stage of lockdown began in Italy. People can go to work in some sectors but while maintaining social distancing,” he said, adding that nearly 4.5 million people were resuming jobs. “People are also allowed to visit their family members whereas professional athletes can get back to training.”

The 32-year-old forward said he missed his Turkish fans a lot during this period of isolation.

”I miss you so much… this is a difficult situation but hopefully everything will get back to normal, soon.”

* Writing by Muhammed Enes Calli

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