Korea’s national football team that left for Austria for a warm-up match against Mexico and Qatar has been put on emergency alert due to players who tested positive for COVID-19. As many as seven players from the national team led by coach Paulo Bento have tested positive for the virus by Sunday.
According to the Korea Republic Football Association, Kim Moon-hwan and Na Sang-ho tested positive in the re-inspection conducted on the players including Son Heung-min and Hwang Eui-jo on Saturday. Kwon Chang-hoon, Lee Dong-jun, Cho Hyun-woo, Hwang In-beom and a staff member tested positive in the first test. That means seven in total tested positive for the virus in two rounds of test. They will be immediately quarantined in Austria for 10 days.
The route of infection has not been figured out yet. “The team strictly followed the quarantine principles,” said an insider of the football association. “A physician, instead of a surgeon, accompanied this time to prevent COVID-19.” The association allowed players who tested negative 72 hours before the trip to join the team. It also rented the whole floor of a hotel in Austria and limited access of others except for insiders of the association and players. A chef also accompanied them so that they can have meals separately.
Even though players tested positive, the team had a match against Mexico on Sunday as planned as FIFA and UEFA allow teams to have a match if they have 13 or more players to play. The Korean football team consists of 25 players.
The match against Qatar on Tuesday is also likely to be held. The national team will make the final decision on whether to proceed with the match after discussing with the Qatar Football Association based on the third test result.