One of the players has recently returned from South Africa.
The preliminary results of the Portuguese National Institute of Health have shown that 13 Omicron coronavirus cases were discovered among Belenenses SAD players, the most prestigious football club in Portugal.
According to the institute, one of the players had recently returned from South Africa where the new strain was discovered.
The institute said in a statement to the Portuguese media: “Preliminary tests conducted at INSA strongly indicate that all 13 cases involving Belenenses SAD players are related to Omicron’s attention variants.”
INSA stated that the genome is being sequenced for confirmation, but added that “the predictive value of the tests performed is already very high.”
The club’s cluster is already big news in Portugal, as Belenenses had to have only 9 players on the field in the first game against Benfica on Saturday night, which drew international criticism. The game was abandoned after more Belenenses players pulled out, and Benfica won 7 to 0.
The country’s health director, Graça Freitas, told TSF radio that now that the new variant has been discovered in Portugal, Benfica’s players will be tested as part of wider vigilance, testing and quarantine measures. She said, “We will do more active isolation and more intensive tests of contacts.”
INSA also found two cases COVID-19 in 218 passengers from Mozambique who arrived in Lisbon on Saturday. The institute says that one variant is Delta and the other cannot both be identified.
Portugal has banned Mozambique from its flights. This is Portugal’s only commercial passenger route to southern African countries that was affected by the European Union flight ban.
According to the National Institute of Public Health and Environment of the Netherlands, 61 passengers aboard the flight from South Africa arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol with COVID-19 positive results. At least 13 Omicron cases were also found.