Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
Six new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed among cyclists who participated in the United Arab Emirates Tour.
News of the six new confirmed cases among cyclists infected by the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, during the UAE Tour comes from a statement released by the Ministry of Health and Prevention of the UAE (MOHAP-UAE).
The statement read: “Six new infections of the coronavirus have been registered, which were monitored in an active and continuous investigation and include two people from Russia, two people from Italy, one person from Germany and one person from Colombia.”
Local media speculate UAE Team Emirates Colombian cyclist Fernando Gaviria, 25, is suspected of being one of the cyclists infected with COVID-19.
Only two Colombian cyclists participated in the UAE Tour, one being Gaviria and the other Hernando Bohorquez, 27, from the Astana cycling team.
Bohorquez has reportedly already left the country after he tested negative for the virus which is what lead to the speculation of Gaviria being infected.
Gaviria’s father Hernando Gaviria spoke to Colombian newspaper ‘El Tiempo’ and said: “We have no communication at all. We have not had any contact. We are waiting. We have not spoken to him.”
Gaviria’s sister Juliana also spoke to the Colombian newspaper and said: “We have not spoken to him and do not know any information” as the 25-year-old cyclist has remained in quarantine and under medical supervision since last week after the tour’s cancellation.
The UAE Tour was cancelled despite having two stages left in the race over fears of further spreading the virus after there were reports of possible cases of COVID-19 among two members of the UAE cycling team staff.
Most teams and their staff were allowed to leave the UAE after going through medical tests however four remain confined in a hotel in the city of Abu Dhabi under quarantine.
The cycling teams that remain in Abu Dhabi are the UAE Emirates team, Groupama-FDJ, Gazprom-RusVelo and Cofidis with no clear idea of when they will be allowed to leave.
Over frustrations of being forced to stay in the hotel Cofidis cycling team director Roberto Damiani, 60, threatened to go on a hunger strike earlier this week saying: “I think we are already passed the point of decency, even if it is in the name of public safety and the danger of contamination.”
Going on to say: “ “I want to make it clear that the Cofidis team has not had the slightest problem.
“We are confined here only because we were in rooms on the same fourth floor of the hotel with the other two teams.” It is unclear if Damiani is carrying out the hunger strike.
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