LIMA – The coach and 10 players from a Peruvian football team tested positive for the new coronavirus just before they were due to board a humanitarian flight, the ministry of health said on Friday.
The 11 members of the third division Credicoop San Roman have been placed in quarantine in a hotel in the southeastern city of Juliaca, near Lake Titicaca.
They were due to board a flight from Juliaca, where they are based, to the capital Lima.
“A total of 66 rapid COVID-19 tests were administered, 12 gave positive results, 11 are male patients that are part of a football team,” the ministry said in a statement.
Amongst them is 52-year-old coach Juan Carlos Bazalar, a former player for Peru’s two biggest clubs, Universitario de Deportes and Alianza Lima.
“We’re isolated and ready to begin the two weeks (of isolation) as the protocols demand,” said Bazalar, who won the Copa Sudamericana — the South American equivalent of the Europa League — as a player with Cusco’s Cienciano in 2003.
“Yet again I have to carry on with faith and hope, and I’m sure that’s how it will be, with God’s blessing.”
It’s the first case of a football team in Peru being infected with the coronavirus.
The news comes even though the country’s football league has been suspended since March 11.
Peru is the second worst affected country in Latin America in terms of cases with more than 100,000 and the worst in terms of deaths with more than 3,000.BSS/AFP