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Portuguese football club hit by 13 cases of Omicron Covid

Portuguese football club hit by 13 cases of Omicron Covid after player returned from South Africa, forcing them to set up nine-man squad for 7-0 thrashing by Benfica

  • Belenenses played Benfica on Saturday with just nine men as the rest of the team was in isolation with suspected Covid
  • Only seven players returned after the break before one of them went down injured
  • The game was halted after 47 minutes with Benfica leading 7-0 as both teams blamed the league bosses and health officials for refusing to postpone the game.
  • 13 cases of Omicron Covid variant have now been confirmed in Belenenses


Portugal has confirmed 13 cases of the Omicron Covid super variant, all related to a football team whose players were away on international duty.

The infections were confirmed at Lisbon club Belenenses on Monday after defender Cafu Phete returned from playing with the South African national team and tested positive for the virus.

Belenenses took the field on Saturday for a game against Benfica with just nine players as the rest were in isolation. Only seven returned to the field after halftime, before one of them fell injured.

Belenenses took to the field against Benfica on Saturday with just nine men as the rest were in isolation with suspected Covid

The game was stopped after just two minutes into the second period, with Benfica leading 7-0. Both teams blamed Portuguese health officials and league leaders for letting the game go ahead.

A Belenenses spokesperson said on Monday that most of the club is now isolating itself pending the results of Covid tests.

“We are all in isolation except for the youth team that did not play on Saturday, 44 people are in isolation at home,” said the spokesperson from isolation.

“Two or three players and two or three staffers have symptoms but nothing serious, the rest are asymptomatic. Everyone is waiting to repeat the tests as soon as the health authority allows it,” he added.

The game was stopped after 47 minutes with Benfica leading 7-0 as only seven players returned after halftime, one of whom fell injured

The game was stopped after 47 minutes with Benfica leading 7-0 as only seven players returned after halftime, one of whom fell injured

Portugal’s general manager, Graca Freitas, told local TSF radio that Benfica’s players will also be tested for the virus.

Portugal joins a rapidly growing list of countries that have now confirmed cases of Omicron – termed a ‘variant of concern’ by the WHO.

It is the most mutated form of Covid ever discovered, including mutations thought to make it much more contagious even among the vaccinated.

But big questions remain about the mutant, including whether it causes more severe forms of the disease.

The South African doctor who first discovered the variant said all her patients had mild symptoms and none required hospital treatment.

dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top virologist, has said it will take at least two weeks for a reliable picture of the variant’s effects to emerge.

13 cases of the Omicron Covid variant have now been confirmed at Belenenses, with 44 players and staff currently in isolation

13 cases of the Omicron Covid variant have now been confirmed at Belenenses, with 44 players and staff currently in isolation

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