Portugal investigates local infection of Omicron in soccer team


Lisbon, Portugal — Portuguese health officials identified 13 cases of Omicron, a new coronavirus variant that is rapidly spreading around the world, among members of top football clubs on Monday. I was investigating whether it was one of the first reported cases of local infection. South Africa.

According to the Ricardo Jorge National Institute of Health, the positive test was a player from the Lisbon-based Belenenses SAD football club, who recently traveled to South Africa to identify the first variant of Omicron. Others have reportedly never traveled to southern Africa, and most cases have been recorded so far.

According to the institute, people who come into contact with positive cases are ordered to be quarantined regardless of vaccination status or potential infection, and COVID-19 testing is routine. Will be done.

Portuguese health minister Graça Freitas said players from Lisbon’s largest team, Benfica, who played Belenenses SAD on Saturday, will also be tested for the virus.

“This is a new variant and needs to be tightly controlled,” Freitas told local TSF radio.

When asked if the match should be allowed, health officials said the club itself called instead of deciding on a professional soccer match.

The Primeira Liga match began with just nine Belenenses SAD players on the pitch (two less than the game requires) due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. However, the referee interrupted the game shortly after half-time, with Benfica leading 7-0, only seven Belenenses SAD players on the field, and the team lost another player.

Club president Louis Pedro Soares said his club had not requested a postponement of the match despite the team being decimated.

Benfica said players are usually tested every Monday and results are expected later in the day. The club said it had not received a request to cancel Saturday’s match and followed the league’s protocol.

Benfica’s next upcoming match is Friday’s Primeira Liga Derby against Sporting Lisbon.

Portugal also found two positive coronavirus cases when screening 218 passengers arriving in Lisbon by plane from the capital of Mozambique on Saturday. Authorities said one case was a delta variant and the other could not be established.

It is one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, and despite 86.6% of the 10.3 million inhabitants receiving two coronavirus jabs, Portuguese authorities have restricted pandemics amid recent increases in infections. Was strengthened.

Starting Wednesday, face masks will be required again in closed spaces and you will need to show a digital certificate certifying vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus to enter restaurants, cinemas and hotels.

The new measures also require negative test results for anyone arriving by plane from abroad.

The Directorate General officially reported 2,897 new cases on Sunday, with 764 hospitalized, 104 in the intensive care unit and 12 dead. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 18,400 people have died of COVID-19 in Portugal.

By Aritz Parra and Helena Alves

Associated Press