17.07.2020 21:04 h

Paraguay suspends football restart after spate of virus cases

Paraguay's football association (APF) announced on Friday it was suspending the restart of its national football league after players from three teams tested positive for the coronavirus.

The country was due to be the first national league in South America to restart its championship on Friday, albeit under strict health protocols.

The APF medical commission revealed on Friday that more than 50 positive cases had been detected across three teams, with the health ministry subsequently recommending the restart be postponed.

The 12 de Octubre team reported 35 positive cases while there were 14 from Guarani and four at San Lorenzo. Three referees also tested positive.

"The association has decided to postpone the restart of the Opening Tournament 2020," the APF said in a statement.

"We've come to an agreement with the presidents of the 12 first division clubs to restart the championship next Wednesday July 22, at the latest."

The APF said it would carry out mass testing on players, coaches and officials.

Prior to the restart, one player from 12 de Octubre was isolated from his team after breaking quarantine rules and getting arrested by police after being involved in a traffic accident.

"I never expected the infections to reach this level, especially with the 12 de Octubre squad. It's very sad," said Gerardo Brunstein, head of the APF's medical commission.

Up until Thursday, Paraguay had registered 3,300 coronavirus cases and 27 deaths, making it one of the least affected countries in Latin America.

When football does restart in the country, players will be barred from spitting, clearing their noses, kissing the ball, hugging and swapping shirts.