Positive tests force Paraguay to delay restart of top league

July 20 – The long-awaited return of football in Paraguay has been set back after players from three different club tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The country’s national league was due to be the first in South America to return to action after the coronavirus shutdown, but Paraguay’s football association (APF) was forced to reconsider after a swath of positive Covid-19 among playing personnel.

“The association has decided to postpone the restart of the Opening Tournament 2020,” said  the APF in a statement. “We’ve come to an agreement with the presidents of the 12 first division clubs to restart the championship next Wednesday July 22, at the latest.”

The APF moved to suspend the restart as its medical commission revealed that more than 50 positive cases had been detected across three teams. Paraguay’s health ministry recommended that the resumption of play be postponed.

12 de Octubre, Guarani and San Lorenzo all reported confirmed cases.  There were also three positive tests among referees. A player from 12 de Octubre had previously been detained by police after he broke quarantine rules and was involved in a car accident.  His club reported 35 positive tests.

“I never expected the infections to reach this level, especially with the 12 de Octubre squad. It’s very sad,” said the head of the AFP’s medical commission Gerardo Brunstein.

Paraguay has registered 3,721 coronavirus cases and 27 deaths, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University. It is one of the least affected countries in South America.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1596905958labto1596905958ofdlr1596905958owedi1596905958sni@o1596905958fni1596905958