COVID-19 ravages Copa América

COVID-19 ravages Copa América
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Venezuela were hit by a COVID-19 outbreak before facing Brazil on the opening day of the Copa América ©Getty Images

More than 40 coronavirus cases have been confirmed as being linked to the Copa América, according to the Brazilian Health Ministry.

Brazil stepped into the breach to stage the tournament, despite facing public opposition over COVID-19 concerns.

The nation, which has the second-highest death toll from coronavirus, was cleared to host the event after receiving approval from the country’s Supreme Federal Court just two before it was due to start on Sunday (June 13). 

Since then, Brazil’s health Ministry confirmed it had reported 41 coronavirus cases which were associated to the Copa América, including 31 players and staff, according to a report by the Associated Press.

It was also confirmed that 10 workers had tested positive for coronavirus while based in Brasilia where hosts Brazil faced Venezuela in the opening game of the tournament.

Venezuela were forced to call upon emergency replacements after being hit by a COVID-19 outbreak before the opener.

A total of 13 players and coaching staff tested positive for coronavirus on the eve of their meeting with reigning champion Brazil who ran out 3-0 winners.

Three Bolivian players and a member of the team’s technical staff had also tested positive for coronavirus before taking on Paraguay who claimed a 3-1 victory on Tuesday.

Nestor Bonillo, fitness coach for Peru, was unable to travel to Brazil after contracting COVID-19, although it is unclear whether he has been counted among the Brazilian Health Ministry’s reported cases.

The Ministry also confirmed that 2,927 COVID-19 tests had been carried out during the Copa América.

Argentina and Colombia were originally scheduled to co-host the tournament before hit by off-field issues.

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) last month pulled the plug on Argentina, where there have been more than four million cases of coronavirus and over 84,000 deaths.

The CONMEBOL had earlier stripped Colombia of co-hosting rights because of violent anti-Government protests.

Brazil has recorded more than 484,000 deaths from COVID-19 and there are fears another wave could plunge the nation into further crisis.

Qatar and Australia had been due to take part as invitational teams before withdrawing because of COVID-19 related issues.

A poll conducted by XP/Ipespe found 64 per cent of respondents are against Brazil hosting the 10-team competition, with less than a third – 29 per cent – in favour.


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