Pepe Reina feels shelved plans to continue playing Premier League games despite the coronavirus outbreak were crazy as he prepares to return to training with Aston Villa on Monday.
The spread of COVID-19 has led to widespread preventative action across the football world, with the top divisions in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy among those to suspend all matches this weekend.
The Premier League initially stated its intention to proceed with fixtures, however positive tests for the virus returned by Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi forced an emergency meeting to review its stance, while Everton, Manchester City, Leicester City and Bournemouth have all reported instances of players self-isolating.
In the UK at large, measures to combat coronavirus are yet to reach the lockdown levels of Italy and Spain, with Reina – who is on loan at Villa - urging the authorities not to "cover their eyes and look the other way".
"Here, in England, they have recommended prudence and to try to be at home as calm as possible," the 37-year-old told Marca.
"I don't have to look after myself at home because we're going to rest over the weekend and on Monday we have training.
"Only those who have positive cases in their teams, like Chelsea or Arsenal, have put their players in quarantine and isolation, but we keep training as usual from Monday.
"It was crazy to [propose that the Premier League] keep playing, we have to take this seriously.
"Other countries which are more affected have already taken more radical measures and we have to follow this path. England can't cover their eyes and look the other way, the life and health of everyone is more important than sport.
"You have to have clear priorities in life and football is just a game and entertainment for people, the health of the people has to come first ahead of any other interest."
We must compete as we’ve done today Stay strong, positive and together in this remaining games and i’m sure that we’ll reach our goal... as a TEAM!! Keep the heads up boys!! #UTV #AVFC pic.twitter.com/GTycVO7xUJ— Pepe Reina (@PReina25) March 1, 2020
UEFA will stage a video conference with all of its stakeholders on Tuesday to decide how to proceed with on-going competitions such as the Champions League, Europa League – both of which have had forthcoming matches postponed – and Euro 2020.
Reina believes the European Championship, which is set to be hosted across 12 European cities, should be put back until 2021.
"The leagues should only start once everything has calmed down," he added. "The most logical solution is to send the European Championship to next year, that should perhaps be the first measure."