Copa America in Brazil Raises COVID-19 Cases Among Players, Staff, Workers to More Than 50
At least 33 soccer players and team staff are among those 52 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the Copa America tournament in Brazil.
Eight players on the Venezuela team had tested positive before the team faced Brazil in the opening match on June 13, when Brazil had won the game with 3-0, Forbes reported. Bolivia had also lost three players after testing positive to COVID-19 before the team's 3-1 loss to Paraguay.
The health ministry of Brazil said in a statement that all workers who tested positive were in Brasilia, where the tournament kicked off. At least 19 tournament workers also tested positive.
No fans were allowed to watch the games during the Copa America event. Bolivian striker Marcelo Martins was one of the players who tested positive for COVID-19.
Martin said on Instagram that it was CONMEBOL's fault. The striker noted that what matters to the organization is money and the lives of the players are not worth anything to them, NBC Sports reported.
Staffers of Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia were also among the reported COVID-19 cases.
Copa America in Brazil
CONEMBOL had defended its actions for choosing Brazil to host the tournament, adding that the decision was not rushed.
The organization noted that it took more than a year of organization, mobilization of financial, human, and technical resources in all of the continent.
Brazil health ministry noted that 3,045 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in connection to the Copa America event, according to an ESPN TV 5 report.
Brazil has stepped in late as emergency host of the 10-team continental championship despite being among the nations with the highest recorded deaths due to COVID-19.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro had offered to host the tournament in Brazil with two weeks left before the actual event after Argentina and Colombia dropped as co-host of the games.
Most Brazilian disapproved of the decision, while major sponsors have walked out of the deal, Washington Post reported. Many had described Bolsonaro's decision as a "slap in the face of Brazilian."
The Senate had also led an inquiry into Jair Bolsonaro's pandemic response, while one senator called the tournament a "championship of death."
Opposition Against Copa America Hosting
The Brazilian team had released a letter saying that they were disappointed in Copa America. A poll has also shown that over 60 percent of Brazilians are against the hosting of the games, while scientists noted that Brazil could not afford to ignore the risks.
Domingos Alves, director of the Health Intelligence Laboratory at the University of São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto, said that Brazil had more than 70,000 cases per day, noting that the country is in a third wave. He added that it is not logical to host the tournament in Brazil since they are dealing with the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Jair Bolsonaro maintained his stance of hosting Copa America, saying that he is sorry for the deaths, but they have to live.
WATCH: Brazil's Players Say 'Against Copa America' But Won't Boycott - From FRANCE 24 English
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