Coronavirus: Paraguay lead South America with plan to resume play in July

May 29 – Paraguay has become the first South American country to announce an imminent return of the game with the Paraguayan Football Association (APF) releasing a schedule for the opening of the Paraguayan Championship ‘Apertura’ on July 17 and training sessions allowed from as early as June 10. 

The APF and clubs will today present a medical protocol to Paraguay’s ministry of health that outlines the measures football authorities propose to ensure a ‘corona-free’ return. In early June, players and club staff will be submitted to testing before they return to training. The APF has committed to funding the testing.

Those training sessions will first be held on an individual basis before small group activities will be allowed on June 16. Full practice will resume on June 22.

In March, Paraguay’s Apertura was suspended after eight games. Libertad lead the topflight with 18 points.

Alongside Venezuela, Paraguay has recorded the smallest numbers of coronavirus fatalities in South America. The country has 900 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and only 11 Paraguayans have passed away after contracting the virus, according to the latest data of the Johns Hopkins University.

In other South American countries, football remains suspended. In Brazil, the debate about football’s return is raging intensely, even if the country has become the new epicentre of the virus. Early on, Argentina decided to end its season.

Contact the writer if this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1615073962labto1615073962ofdlr1615073962owedi1615073962sni@o1615073962fni1615073962