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The New Arab

Five Syrian footballers suspected of catching coronavirus during China tournament

Syria has seen its first confirmed case of coronavirus [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 March, 2020

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The five players were originally diagnosed with the flu.
Five Syrian footballers and a manager were allegedly struck down with coronavirus during a visit to China in December, according to a recently emerged news report.

Syria's Olympics' star Mohammed Kamel Kuwayeh told journalist Lotfi Ostwani that five players were taken ill with Type 2 Influenza during the International China Friendly Tournament in Beijing late last year.

The player alleged that at least five players and the manager had symptons identical to those of COVID-19, Zaman Al-Wasl reported.

It said that the claims cannot be independently verified given the secretive nature of the Chinese and Syrian governments.

Beijing was not hit as hard as other parts of China, which started in the city of Wuhan in December and spread from January.

Chinese authorities enforced a strict lockdown on Wuhan and surrounding areas which helped prevent a major outbreak of the virus countrywide. 

Syria reported its first case of the coronvirus on Sunday, after weeks of other alleged cases in Latakia and other regime-held cities.

NGOs fear a major outbreak of coronavirus in the country, which could further strain Syria's already ill-equipped health services.

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