Estadio do Restelo is the home ground of Belenenses football team, Source: Theo K, on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Omicron variant in Portugal: all of the cases found in one football team

Omicron variant in Portugal: all of the cases found in one football team

The new COVID variant caused waves in professional football, too

There are already 13 cases of the new COVID Omicron variant in Portugal, all of which were found among the players and staff of the Belenenses SAD football team, which plays in the country’s top-tier professional league. This is the second time that the team makes the headlines, as over the weekend it only had nine available players to go on the pitch and it nevertheless proceeded to play a game against Benfica.

It is now confirmed that the COVID variant rampaging among the Belenenses team is in fact the new Omicron variant, which was brought by one of the players, Cafu Phete, who had returned from South Africa on 17 November.

Portugal had already implemented pro-active restrictions

Last week, the Portuguese government decided to return socially restrictive measures, including the testing requirements for travellers from abroad. It seems, however, that even this seemingly, at the time, proactive measure, was already too late in stopping what was the rapid and ever-changing face of the global pandemic.

The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus originated in South Africa and is already making headlines due to its potential for rapid spread, although it is not clear for the moment if it presents stronger morbidity among patients. Likewise, its effect vis-à-vis the existing vaccines has not yet been determined.

Graça Freitas, the Director-General of the Portuguese Health Authority, explained on Monday that the detected 13 cases are not exclusively in players, but also among other staff members of the Belenenses SAD team, which is based in the capital city of Lisbon. The clinical evolution of the positive cases "is being favourable and this is good news", she said, in statements to the TSF radio station.



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