Copa America Rocked By Venezuela Covid Outbreak On Eve Of Opener

Copa America rocked by Venezuela Covid outbreak on eve of opener

Braslia, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Jun, 2021 ) :At least eight players from the Venezuelan national football team have tested positive for Covid-19, the Brazilian health minister said Saturday, a day before they play the opening match of the Copa America against hosts Brazil.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga told a press conference that eight Venezuelan players and four coaches had tested positive Friday, shortly after arriving in Brazil.

"They're all fine. They're all isolated in their hotel, along with those who had contact with them," he said.

The South American football confederation, CONMEBOL, later updated the total, saying 13 members of the Venezuelan delegation had tested positive.

Captain Tomas Rincon revealed on Instagram that he was one of them. "I deeply regret not being able to represent my country," he posted.

Meanwhile, three Bolivian players and a member of the team's technical staff tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of their Copa debut on Monday against Paraguay, the Bolivia soccer federation said late Saturday, adding that all were in isolation.

It was the latest bad news for the controversial, pandemic-battered South American championships, which kick off Sunday when Brazil play Venezuela in Brasilia.

The outbreak is unlikely to force the cancellation of any matches.

CONMEBOL said Friday it would allow teams unlimited substitutions for players who are ruled out because of positive Covid-19 results or contact with infected people.

Venezuela said it had called up 15 new players as emergency replacements.

However, the infections add to the headaches of organizers already facing sponsor pullouts and a flurry of criticism over the decision to press ahead with the tournament despite the pandemic.