Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Portugal investigates local transmission of Omicron in soccer team. AP News

LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Portuguese health officials on Monday identified 13 cases of omicron among members of a top soccer club, the new coronavirus variant rapidly spreading globally, and were investigating whether it was a local transmission. It was one of the first cases of Virus outside southern Africa.

Ricardo Jorge’s National Health Institute said one of those who tested positive was a player from the Lisbon-based Belenense SAD soccer club, who had recently traveled to South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first identified. However, others had not traveled to South Africa.

The institute said people who have been in contact with positive cases have been ordered to isolate, regardless of their vaccination status or the risk of possible contagion, and regularly test for COVID-19. Will be tested for -19.

Portugal’s general director of health, Graça Freitas, told local TSF radio that players from Lisbon’s biggest team, Benfica, who played Belenense SAD on Saturday, would also be tested for the virus.

The Primera Liga match began with just nine Belenense SAD players on the pitch – two fewer than the game calls – due to the coronavirus outbreak. But the referee suspended play after half-time, with Benfica leading 7–0, when only seven Belenense SAD players took the field and the team lost another player.

Club president Rui Pedro Soares said his club had not asked for games to be postponed, despite a squad lacking.

Portugal also found two positive coronavirus cases when it screened 218 passengers who arrived in Lisbon on a flight from Mozambique’s capital on Saturday. Officials said one of the cases was a delta version and the other could not be established.

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