COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 digest: Brazil-Argentina football match halted over quarantine breach

Published : September 06, 2021 19:32 IST

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Brazil's Neymar speak with officials at the match. Photo: Andre Penner/AP Photo/picture alliance

The World Cup qualifier was suspended after a six minutes when health officials said players broke quarantine rules.

Global soccer superstar Lionel Messi and the rest of the Argentina national team were forced to abandon a World Cup Qualifier against Brazil on September 5 after Brazilian health officials said three Argentine players had broken quarantine rules.

In an incredible turn of events, officials from Brazil's health regulator Anvisa walked onto the pitch at the Sao Paolo Neo Quimica Arena just minutes after kick off and suspended the game. Players from both national teams argued for some time with health officials on the side of the pitch before marching back down the tunnel to their changing rooms.

"Why did they start the game and stop it after five minutes?" Messi said in a TV interview. "We've been here at the stadium for an hour, they could have told us."

Under COVID-19 rules, anyone who has been in the U.K. 14 days before entering Brazil must quarantine for two weeks on arrival. Four Argentine players who compete weekly in the English Premier League — Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia, who ply their trade at Aston Villa, and Tottenham duo Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero — all traveled to Brazil, three of whom started the match on September 5.

Brazil's health regulator learned that the details they had been given were "false" which they said represented "a serious health risk" and could take further action. Brazil were without nine key players for the match because of quarantine rules, with many other international sides have suffered similar fates due to travel regulations around the globe.

Here are the latest developments on coronavirus from around the world.

Americas

Brazil has suspended the use of over 12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by China's Sinovac firm. The regulator said in a statement on September 4 that doses that were suspended were produced in an unauthorized plant.

The health regulator, Anvisa, said it was alerted on September 3 by Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute, a biomedical center that had partnered with the Chinese firm to distribute vaccine batches locally. Anvisa will now inspect the plant in question and find out more about the security of the manufacturing. Brazil relied largely on vaccines from Sinovac at the beginning of its vaccine campaign, but it has moved on to several manufacturers since.

The country has registered more than 20 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 582,670, as of September 3, according to state statistics.

Europe

The health ministers of the G20 group of the world's leading economies are meeting in Rome on September 5 for a meeting on the ongoing battle against the pandemic and strategies for coping with future health crises. This is one of the last G20 ministerial meetings before the G20 leaders meet at the end of October in Rome.

Germany has surpassed the 4-million mark for total coronavirus cases, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control. Since the start of the pandemic, 4,005,641 infections have been reported, though the number is thought to be higher as many infections were not recorded. The total death toll is at 92,346.

The seven-day incidence rate of coronavirus infections rose again on September 5, to reach 83.1, nearly 10 points higher than just a week ago. The country is now using hospital admission rates as well as other factors to determine how to respond to the fourth wave of the pandemic.

Thousands of demonstrators in France took the streets once again to protest the government's policies regarding a health pass that proves a person's vaccination status. September 4 marked the eighth day of protests. Two-thirds of the French population have received both their vaccine shots, while 72.3 per cent have received their first dose.

A U.K. former prime minister, Gordon Brown accused rich countries of committing a "moral outrage" by hoarding vaccines in an opinion piece published in the Sunday Mirror newspaper. Brown called on U.S. President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders to urgently ship vaccines from the United States and Europe to Africa, where vaccination efforts have been slower.

U.K. vaccines minister Nadim Zahawi said on September 5 that vaccine passports will be needed to enter nightclubs or attend large gatherings by the end of the month. He told the British Sky News outlet that he believes vaccine passports are necessary to avoid another lockdown.

Germany reported 10,453 new cases of the virus and 21 more deaths on September 5. Health Minister Jens Spahn, who was attending the G-20 ministerial meeting in Rome, said Germany intends to make 100 million coronavirus vaccine doses available worldwide before the end of the year. "This is the same amount as we have vaccinated in our own country so far," Spahn said.

Slovakia reversed its policy of only allowing people vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend a public event during a visit by Pope Francis later this month. Registration numbers for the Pope's visit before the reversal of the policy were low since only around half of the adult population have been vaccinated.

Total coronavirus cases in Russia surpassed seven million on Sunday. At least 187,200 people have died from the virus in Russia.

Asia-Pacific

Australia reported 1,684 new cases of the coronavirus on September 5 as authorities race ahead with vaccinations in a bid to end lockdowns before Christmas. The country's most populous state of New South Wales reported 1,485 cases of delta variant on September 5, with three more deaths. Victoria state had 183 new cases. More than 15 million people in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are under stay-at-home orders.

New Zealand reported 20 new local cases on September 5, the same as the previous day and all in Auckland, health officials said. This brings the total number of cases of the community outbreak to 801. Of those, 38 people are in hospital and six are in intensive care.

Japan will issue online COVID-19 vaccination certificates from December, the Nikkei newspaper reported on September 5. The certificates are meant for overseas travel rather than domestic use.

jc, rm, wd/sms, jsi (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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