Wuhan Zall, the football team of the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus, will arrive in Málaga this Wednesday (29 January) for its preseason training.
The expedition of the First Division team, whose coach is the Spaniard José González, will arrive without presenting any “virus-related symptoms”, according to a statement by the Board of Health and Families of the ‘Junta de Andalucia’, the regional government, EURACTIV’s media partner EFE reports.
The outbreak had its epicentre in Wuhan, and infected over 4.500 people and killed over 100 victims.
The statement also stressed that the football team was previously in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, about a thousand kilometres from Wuhan, so they were not in the ‘ground zero’ of the coronavirus when it began to spread.
Wuhan Zall has been out of his city since 2 January and, therefore, has passed the maximum incubation period to monitor, the statement continues.
The team will arrive to Spain after the coronavirus infected its first victims on European soil. France was the first country to report cases, one in Bordeaux and two in Paris. On Monday, another victim was registered in the German State of Bavaria, the first human to human transmission in Europe.
The Coronavirus Monitoring Advisory Group in Andalusia will carry out a follow-up check when the team arrives.
Since last Thursday, it is not possible to leave or enter Wuhan which has been quarantined by the virus.
The team’s arrival to Europe came as the European Commission on Tuesday (28 January) activated the EU Civil Protection mechanism to provide consular support to EU citizens in Wuhan, following a French request.
Two planes will be sent to repatriate EU citizens from the Wuhan area to Europe.
The EU will co-finance the transport costs of the aircraft. The first plane is scheduled to depart from France on Wednesday morning, while the second one will leave later this week.
According to the Commission’s estimate, around 250 French citizens will be transported in the first aircraft and over 100 EU citizens from other countries will be on board the second aircraft.
“Our EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre is working 24/7 and is in constant contact with member states, the EU Delegations in the region and the Chinese embassy in Brussels,” said Janez Lenarčič, commissioner for Crisis Management, in a statement.
The EU executive said that additional requests for assistance could follow in the coming days.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and remain in close contact with our Member States,” said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner responsible for Health and Food Security.
(Edited by Benjamin Fox)