Beijing virus outbreak cast doubt over CLS restart as Chinese stay on ‘zero tolerance’ track

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June 19 – The start of the new Chinese Super League season, postponed from February, has been plunged into further doubt because of a new outbreak of Covid-19.

Zhang Wenhong, an infectious disease specialist, told state television that the outbreak in Beijing, where there have been more than 180 infections recorded in just over a week, could cause further delays to plans to kick off this month, with top-flight clubs needing to play up to three games a week in order to finish the entire season in 2020.

Ironically, leagues in Europe are just starting up again but football in the country where Covid-19 began is still on the backburner.

“The schedule is still under discussion because the pandemic just re-surged in Beijing,” Zhang said.

“The potential coronavirus transmissions from Beijing make it more complicated. I think CSL leaders are concerned about that and will keep changing the timetable.”

“European countries have made the decision to restart, because they believe … if they can keep coronavirus cases under control and the medical system is working well, it will be okay to restart the games,” he said.

“In China, however, our target is to keep the cases at near zero, so we are much more prudent and we still need more time.”

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