MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. All tests taken by players from the Russian football club Zenit St. Petersburg for COVID-19 have yielded negative results, Alexander Medvedev, the director general of the Russian club, told TASS on Monday.
The first positive case of the novel coronavirus among Russian footballers was recorded on May 16, when Lokomotiv Moscow FC’s Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfan tested positive for COVID-19. Last week, the football club hoped that the 35-year-old forward would start training in three or four weeks.
“Thanks God, we have zero cases of COVID-19,” Medvedev said. “As for Farfan, I know that he has been in self-isolation,” Medvedev said in an interview with TASS. “As far as I know, he has been diagnosed with a mild case of the disease, which is under control. We hope to God that he recovers and gets back to training.”
“This case [with Farfan] proves once again that the virus can be picked up anywhere, say by going to the store for groceries or coming across anyone while walking,” he continued. “This is why it is extremely important to follow all of the required measures.”
Medvedev added that players of Zenit St. Petersburg are regularly tested for COVID-19 saying that “last week, we opted for dual tests to rule out any possible errors.”
“All tests were negative and we intend to carry on with such testing,” he vowed. “The list of regulations [on the resumption of the Russian Premier League matches] stipulates a system of testing for all footballers arriving to participate in the matches.”
The RPL Executive Board made a decision last Friday to resume matches of the Russian Football Championship on June 21. They had been postponed several times earlier this year due to the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus.
Prior to the RPL shutdown, the league’s clubs completed 22 out of 30 scheduled rounds of the championship. On April 1, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) recommended restarting national football tournaments.
After 22 rounds of the 2019/2020 season of the Russian Championship, Zenit St. Petersburg ranks first in the tournament’s standings with 50 points.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 4,827,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 317,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 1,868,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 290,678 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 70,209 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 2,722 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.