The health authorities of Portugal set off the alarms in the European country after reporting that this Monday detected 13 cases of omicron, the new variant of the coronavirus that is believed to be most contagious, among the team members of a professional football club of the Portuguese first division.
According to the statement provided by the Ricardo Jorge National Institute of Health, it is about the players of the Belenenses. Apparently the 27-year-old South African defender Thibang Phete He returned to Portugal last Sunday, November 22, after playing two games with his country’s national team. The others, however, had not traveled to South Africa, indicating that this may be one of the first cases of local transmission of the virus outside of southern Africa.
According to the National Institute of Health, samples from 13 footballers were analyzed and in the first results obtained there are clear signs that the thirteen cases are “related to the Omicron variant”.
Those who were in contact with the positive cases have been ordered to isolate themselves, regardless of their vaccination status or exposure to possible contagion, and They will be tested regularly for COVID-19, the institute said.
In the last hours, as reported to the agency EFE the football club itself, a total of 17 positives: 13 players, the coach and his assistant and two other members of the coaching staff.
Despite the outbreak, the league game that was scheduled for Saturday night against Benfica was played, as neither the League nor the health authorities suspended it.
Due to the high number of covid cases, the team jumped onto the pitch with only 9 troops and after the break the match was suspended, since the Belenenses only had 6 field players.
This football match, which ended with a 7-0 win by the local team, has generated a huge controversy in PortugalTherefore, the League plans to hold meetings today with different entities to clarify what happened.
Portugal registered this Sunday twelve deaths from covid and 3,364 new positives, while the number of hospitalized rises to 708, of which 104 are in intensive care. The country, which will resume the “state of calamity” (a level lower than the state of emergency) as of December 1 to contain the spread of the virus, has just over 10 million inhabitants and, since the pandemic began, registered 1,139,810 infections and 18,405 deaths.
It should be noted that the Portuguese Government decided suspend all flights departing or arriving from the country of Mozambique starting this Monday to fight especially the Omicron variant. Mozambique is a former Portuguese colony with close ties, so there is a lot of mobility between the two countries.
These restrictions agreed by Portugal will also apply to the African countries of South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
(With information from EFE)