At the time of going to press, the club had reported that 17 cases of infection with the new coronavirus were detected among players, technical staff and other staff during the screening tests carried out since 16 January.
The information was confirmed following reports in the press that footballer Luca Waldschmidt, assistant coaches João de Deus, Pietra and Fernando Ferreira and director Luisão were infected, and that the players Gilberto and Everton were in isolation.
Without giving names, although the press indicates that among the cases are five players, the club only generalised the existence of 17 cases, and later confirmed that Luís Filipe Vieira is infected and asymptomatic.
Future games for the club are now in question due to the outbreak of the virus: “In view of this data, in defense of public health and the physical integrity of the athletes involved, Benfica refers to the DGS regarding the decision to present itself in competition in the next 14 days”, states the official website.
In response, DGS explained that it is the responsibility of the regional health authority to analyse the situation. “The territorially competent health authority, having assessed the circumstances and the risk, decides on the players who are in isolation, due to illness, and those who are in prophylactic isolation, as they are considered risky contacts. The decision as to the rest of the squad is the responsibility of the sports clubs”, reads the statement issued by the DGS, in relation to the presence of Benfica in upcoming professional competitions.