While rugby has been totally suspended in the U.K. since March 20 due to its close-contact, highly-physical nature, the Duke of Sussex added that the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic still “hasn’t taken away our spirit” — a reference to the community ethos the game prides itself on.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images Prince Harry
The Instagram video forms part of England Rugby’s “Pitch In” campaign, which has been launched during the U.K.’s coronavirus lockdown to help English rugby teams support their local communities by hosting charity events at their clubhouses or using them to provide food to key workers and those most in need of help.
“When the game was paused, the rugby family came together as one. Thank you from all of us at England Rugby ?,” England Rugby posted alongside the video, which features current England captain Owen Farrell and 2003 World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson, who played extensively alongside Harry’s cousin-in-law Mike Tindall.
A lifelong fan of the game, Harry is the Honorary President of England Rugby and traveled to Yokohama, Japan, in November 2019 to watch the team play in the World Cup Final against South Africa.
Although England didn’t win the match, losing 32-12, Harry gave South African President Cyril Ramaphosa a big hug afterward, in a sweet moment captured on the now-defunct Sussex Royal Instagram account.
“Tonight was not England’s night, but the whole nation is incredibly proud of what @EnglandRugby have achieved over the past few months,” Harry wrote. “Hold your heads high boys, you did an outstanding job and we couldn’t have asked more from you.”
Handout/World Rugby via Getty Images Prince Harry with players
Afterward, the duke also visited with some of the winning South African athletes, as he congratulated the team on becoming world champions.Away from rugby, Harry and Meghan have been busy helping out Homeboy Industries, a community social justice organization working to improve the lives of formerly incarcerated and previously gang-involved people in L.A.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were just ‘Harry and Meghan’ to the homies,” Father Greg Boyle, the group’s founder said about the visit, which saw the couple prepare food for the #FeedHOPE program alongside the group’s participants (“Homies”) working in the café and bakery.
“They rolled up their sleeves and deeply engaged with our workers in the bakery and café. It was immediate kinship and heartening in its mutuality.”
Their new venture, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, will see the couple engage in keynote speeches with trade associations, corporations and community forums. They will also continue to focus on social issues such as racial injustice, gender equality, mental health and environmental concerns.
As America’s reopening plans went into a dramatic reverse or stalled across the US in the face of a resurgent virus, Miami became the latest authority to act by announcing it was closing its beaches and planning a crackdown on coronavirus rules.
The development happened as Florida reported yet another record rise in daily cases. The Florida Department of Health reported 9,585 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, shattering the previous daily high for positive Covid-19 infections which it notched up on Friday. Florida has now had 132,545 positive cases to date.
Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez will sign an order to close all beaches starting 3 July and ending 7 July. Gimenez said closures may be extended depending on conditions, or if people do not follow facemask rules, or if social distancing is not observed.
“If people are not going to be responsible and protect themselves and others from this pandemic, then the government is forced to step in and restore common sense to save lives,” Gimenez said.
Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, have emerged as states experiencing a rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases. But they are just among the worst cases of America’s pandemic, which is once again appearing to spiral out of control even as the White House has touted its reopening plans and claimed the country has overcome the worst of the threat.
The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases per day in the US hit an all-time high of 40,000 according to figures released by Johns Hopkins on Friday, eclipsing the mark first set during one of the deadliest stretches of the pandemic back in late April.
Record seven-day case averages have now been reported by 13 states in total across a huge swathe of America, including Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
The news has thrown much of the US’s effort to reopen its economy – which president Donald Trump sees as crucial to his re-election efforts – into reverse, or stalled.
In Texas, bars have also been closed again after the numbers of new cases continues to soar. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” governor Greg Abbott said last week, as the state recorded 5,996 new coronavirus cases and the highest number of daily deaths since mid-May.
Abbott has also issued orders to postpone “all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary” in the state’s four biggest counties as Houston reported all its ICU beds are now occupied.
One small Texan city on the outskirts of Houston even instituted a curfew starting Saturday night. Esmeralda Moya, mayor of Galena Park, a community of 10,000 people, said: “It is crucial to continue to practice good hygiene, stay home as much as possible, avoid unnecessary trips, gatherings, and wear a face-covering at all times when you leave your home.”
The closures in Miami come as the Florida Department of Health announced 8,942 new coronavirus cases on Friday. Miami-Dade, which encompasses Miami, reported 1,528 new cases, the highest single-day case total since the pandemic began.
The mayor’s directive came as governor Ron DeSantis, who has repeatedly portrayed economic damage from coronavirus lockdowns as greater risk than risks from the virus itself, said he would not order Floridians to wear face coverings.
But DeSantis – a staunch Trump ally – said he would slow Florida’s phased re-opening by suspending alcohol sales at bars statewide.
California has also been hit. Over the past two weeks, intensive care unit admissions in California have spiked by 19%, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said