Covid-19 cases hit record level as Paulista returns to play

July 23 – After a four-month hiatus, football has returned to São Paulo with the resumption of the Paulista championship, one of Brazil’s most important state championships.

On Wednesday, Ituano and Ferroviária drew in the first match of the tournament after the coronavirus shutdown. The match was another snapshot of how games are being played globally during the pandemic with medical protocols in place, no fans in the stands and a provision to substitute up to five players per team.

Some clubs have been forced to shift away from their home grounds because they are located in coronavirus hotspots. Guarani, Ponte Preta, Inter de Limeira, Ituano, Novorizontino, Santo André, Red Bull Bragantino, Mirassol, Oeste and Botafogo-SP will not stage any matches at home.

On Wednesday, the state of Sao Paulo registered 16,777 confirmed coronavirus cases, a new record. In total, 439,466 people have contracted the virus in  Brazil’s economically most powerful state.

Two match days remain before the end of the group phase. Sao Paulo and Red Bull had already guaranteed their passage to the quarter finals before the Paulista championship was suspended.

Corinthians took on Palmeiras in the local derby and returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory. The ‘Arena Corinthians’ was vandalized hours before kick-off.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1596496951labto1596496951ofdlr1596496951owedi1596496951sni@o1596496951fni1596496951