The intention of the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) was to organize the first fully shielded sports tournament against covid-19. Almost a week before the opening game, the Copa América registers 65 infections, according to the agency, of which 46 are from the staff of the organizers and the refereeing team and 19 are between soccer players and part of the coaching staff. The increase in cases occurs a day after Brazil registered 2,997 deaths from the covid, a figure that had not been registered since last April and adds more than 95,000 new cases daily.
Information on infections by covid-19 has been disclosed, mainly, by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Last Tuesday, the health authorities had reported 52 infected, among which 33 footballers and staff of the respective national teams stood out. The outbreaks have occurred in the selections of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. The Conmebol adjusted the data this Thursday to report that in the national teams there are only 19 cases between players and coaching staff, but it has not reported which countries are infected.
So far, the health authorities have carried out 5,458 PCR tests on all the national teams, the Conmebol operational staff, the referees, the personnel inside the stadiums, the press and those they call special guests. Positive cases represent 1.19% of the total. People who have tested positive for coronavirus must remain isolated in their respective hotel rooms until tests confirm that they have overcome the disease. On Wednesday night, the Argentine team reported that after carrying out all the PCR tests on the players there were no positives before facing the Uruguayan team this Friday.
Conmebol has sought to vaccinate the delegations and all staff by having the support of more than 50,000 vaccines from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac, approved by the World Health Organization. Part of the Colombian team has been immunized. Before each match, the organizers require each team to present a vaccination certificate or, where appropriate, a negative PCR test.
The environment of soccer players and coaches of the Copa América has avoided showing their position regarding the health situation. The only one who has made it public was Marcelo Martins Moreno, captain of Bolivia, who through a publication on his Instagram blamed Conmebol for the infections, including his. “What they only care about is money. Is the player’s life worth nothing? ”, He wrote and hours later he had to delete the message. Conmebol reprimanded him and the footballer retracted. Colombia’s coach, Reinaldo Rueda, said that the health situation facing the Venezuelan team “cannot be a distraction.”
Subscribe here to the newsletter from EL PAÍS América and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of the region.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.