Football: 12 Venezuelans test positive for Covid-19, a day before Copa opener against Brazil

Venezuela players sing their national anthem before a World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on June 3, 2021..
Venezuela players sing their national anthem before a World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on June 3, 2021..PHOTO: AFP

SAO PAULO (REUTERS) - Twelve members of the Venezuelan delegation at the Copa America have tested positive for Covid-19, health officials said on Saturday (June 12), a day before they meet hosts Brazil in the tournament opener.

"The 12 members of the delegation include players and members of the backroom staff," said a statement from the Health Secretariat in the capital Brasilia, where Sunday's game will take place.

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) made the diagnosis on Friday night and informed local health authorities.

"All are asymptomatic, isolated in individual rooms, and are being monitored by the Conmebol team and local health officials," the statement added.

Venezuela are due to take on reigning champions Brazil on Sunday evening at the Mane Garrincha stadium.

The Copa America, the oldest tournament in international football and featuring 10 South American nations, was moved to Brazil at the last minute after co-hosts Argentina pulled out because of a Covid-19 surge there. Colombia was removed earlier as the other co-hosts following social unrest.

Brazil agreed to host the tournament in spite of its own coronavirus issues. Some 484,235 people have died in Brazil, more than any country in the world bar the United States, with 2,216 reported dead on Friday.

The Copa America, South America's equivalent of the European Championship, is due to run until July 10.