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The New Arab Staff

Four footballers from Syria's national team contract coronavirus

The footballers' names were not released [Getty-file photo]

Date of publication: 4 August, 2020

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The coronavirus has hit Syria's national football team.

Four footballers in Syria's national team have contracted the coronavirus, local media have reported, amid fears of a widespread outbreak of the disease in Syria.

The footballers and three support staff who tested positive for Covid-19 have been isolated from their team mates, Sham Radio reported on Tuesday.

Later on Tuesday, Syria's Sports Union cancelled events for the summer.

Syria were due to play a friendly match with Iran but the date has been postponed as the coronavirus spreads through both countries.

Officially, the government has recorded only 847 cases of coronavirus and 46 deaths. But there is widespread speculation that the regime is covering up a major outbreak of the disease in areas under its control.

A medical worker told US broadcaster NPR that hospitals are overwhelmed and doctors lack the adequate supplies to deal with the crisis with security forces ensuring that information of the outbreak does not emerge.

"There are continuous warnings against doctors speaking on this issue," the unnamed source said. "We are all scared, all the time."

Medical experts have continuously warned that Syria remains highly vulnerable to an outbreak of the coronavirus, lacking the hospitals and medical staff to control the spread.

Millions of Syrians are living below the poverty line and vulnerable to the disease lacking money to access cleaning products, food, and medical care.

Terrible conditions in Syria's quarantine centres early on in the crisis led to many Syrians not reporting symptoms due to fears of being sent to these wards, it has been claimed.

Syrian humanitarian groups have previously accused the regime of covering up the true scale of coronavirus in the country.

Doctors in regime-held areas have reported an increasing number of cases, saying that the regime was unable to contain the spread of the disease.

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