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Portuguese club Tondela put into isolation because of virus

December 1, 2021 GMT
Benfica coach Jorge Jesus shakes hands with Belenenses' Joao Monteiro, right, a goalkeeper who had to start as a field player, at the end of the Portuguese Primeira Liga soccer match between Belenenses SAD and SL Benfica, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Belenenses SAD started the match with only nine players due to a coronavirus outbreak. Portuguese health authorities on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, identified 13 cases of omicron, the new coronavirus variant spreading fast globally, among members of Belenenses SAD. (AP Photo/Pedro Rocha)
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Benfica coach Jorge Jesus shakes hands with Belenenses' Joao Monteiro, right, a goalkeeper who had to start as a field player, at the end of the Portuguese Primeira Liga soccer match between Belenenses SAD and SL Benfica, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Belenenses SAD started the match with only nine players due to a coronavirus outbreak. Portuguese health authorities on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, identified 13 cases of omicron, the new coronavirus variant spreading fast globally, among members of Belenenses SAD. (AP Photo/Pedro Rocha)
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Benfica coach Jorge Jesus shakes hands with Belenenses' Joao Monteiro, right, a goalkeeper who had to start as a field player, at the end of the Portuguese Primeira Liga soccer match between Belenenses SAD and SL Benfica, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Belenenses SAD started the match with only nine players due to a coronavirus outbreak. Portuguese health authorities on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, identified 13 cases of omicron, the new coronavirus variant spreading fast globally, among members of Belenenses SAD. (AP Photo/Pedro Rocha)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Health authorities ordered all members of Portuguese soccer club Tondela to go into isolation on Wednesday in the latest setback related to a new surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

The isolation order came after slew of cases of the new omnicron variant at Belenenses, which had only nine players available for its game against Benfica over the weekend. That match was abandoned after halftime.

Health authorities said Wednesday that 19 members of Belenenses were infected with the omicron variant.

Six players have tested positive for COVID-19 at Tondela, though the club did not say if they were infected with the omicron variant.

It said all players and technical staff were in isolation and waiting for further instructions from health authorities.

The league postponed Saturday’s match between Tondela and Moreirense until January. The league also announced stricter measures against the virus.

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There was also concern about players at Sporting Lisbon, which played against Tondela on Sunday.

Portuguese media said Sporting defender Sebastián Coates was infected and the team was waiting for the results from the tests conducted with the rest of the squad.

The Portuguese league, health authorities and both Benfica and Belenenses were trying to avoid blame for allowing Saturday’s match to be played despite concerns about the coronavirus and the omicron variant.

An investigation was put in place and new COVID-19 protocols were to be discussed.

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