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Portugal probes native transmission of omicron at soccer group

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Portuguese well being authorities on Monday recognized 13 {cases} of the omicron coronavirus variant amongst members of an expert soccer membership and had been investigating whether or not it was one of many first reported {cases} of native transmission of the virus exterior of southern Africa.


The Ricardo Jorge Nationwide Well being Institute mentioned that a kind of who examined Positive was a participant from the Lisbon-based Belenenses SAD soccer membership who had not too long ago traveled to South Africa, the place the omicron variant was first recognized.

The others, together with gamers and different members of the membership’s employees, hadn’t reportedly traveled to southern Africa, the place a lot of the {cases} have been recorded to date.

The institute mentioned that those that had been in touch with the Positive {cases} had been in isolation no matter their vaccination standing.

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Gamers of Lisbon’s greatest group, Benfica, which performed Belenenses SAD on Saturday, had been additionally being examined for the virus.

“Since this can be a new variant, we have now to tighten the controls,” Portugal’s well being common director, Graça Freitas informed the native TSF radio.

Freitas mentioned that a number of the contaminated had no signs and that each one had been enhancing.

“Regardless of being vaccinated, we all know that the vaccine will not be 100% efficient,” she informed SIC Noticias information channel.

Well being authorities, the golf equipment and Portugal’s Primeira Liga had been all going through questions for permitting the sport to go forward even when the Belenenses SAD had already decreased its squad to 9 gamers — two fewer than the sport requires — due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Portuguese league referred to as for an “pressing” assembly with well being authorities to grasp what occurred and focus on modifications within the present COVID-19 protocols for matches. It questioned why well being officers failed to contemplate all Belenenses gamers to be at a excessive danger of contagion contemplating the potential presence of the omicron variant.

The referee suspended the sport simply after halftime, with Benfica main 7-0, when solely seven Belenenses SAD gamers took the sphere and the squad then misplaced one other participant.

Freitas mentioned that well being authorities don’t resolve over skilled soccer video games and that it was the golf equipment themselves who made the decision.

Benfica mentioned that its gamers had been examined on Monday as they usually are each week and that outcomes had been anticipated later within the day. It mentioned the membership hadn’t acquired any requests to cancel Saturday’s sport and league protocols had been adopted.

Benfica’s subsequent scheduled match is the Primeira Liga derby in opposition to Sporting Lisbon on Friday.

Belenenses on Monday requested the league for a rematch, saying that by its interpretation of the foundations the outcome shouldn’t rely as a result of the sport wasn’t absolutely accomplished.

“The league should not ratify the results of the sport and may schedule a brand new one,” it mentioned in a letter despatched to the league and that the membership shared with The Related Press.

Membership president Rui Pedro Soares had mentioned the membership did not formally ask for the sport to be postponed, however he had informed the league it didn’t need to play it. The membership mentioned it was the duty of the league and of well being authorities to make the choice to postpone it.

The membership informed Portuguese media on Sunday that 16 of its gamers had examined Positive and that 44 folks in complete had been put into isolation by well being authorities.

Portugal additionally discovered two Positive coronavirus {cases} when it screened 218 passengers who arrived in Lisbon on a flight from Mozambique’s capital on Saturday. One of many {cases} was the delta variant and the opposite one couldn’t be established, authorities mentioned.

Regardless of having one of many highest vaccination charges in Europe, with 86.6% of its 10.3 million residents having acquired two coronavirus jabs, authorities in Portugal have tightened pandemic restrictions amid a latest rise in infections.

Beginning on Wednesday, carrying a face masks will as soon as once more be obligatory in enclosed areas and digital certificates proving vaccination or restoration from the coronavirus should be proven to enter eating places, cinemas and inns.


The brand new measures additionally make a adverse take a look at outcome obligatory for everybody arriving from overseas by air, land or sea.

The Normal Directorate for Well being formally reported 1,635 new {cases} Monday, with 809 folks in hospitals, 111 in intensive care models and 13 deaths. Greater than 18,400 folks have died of COVID-19 in Portugal for the reason that starting of the pandemic.

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