Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus has tested positive for coronavirus and is under quarantine in Rio de Janeiro while doctors perform a second confirmatory test, he and his club said on Monday.
It’s true that my test came up positive and it’s also true that I feel normal, the Portuguese coach said on Instagram. I feel exactly the same today as I felt a month, a year, two, three years ago. I have no symptoms but the test was positive.
I am going to stay under quarantine. I think that in a week or two, God willing, I’ll be back to normal.
Jesus, who last year led Flamengo to the Serie A league title and Copa Libertadores trophy, said he was under the care of the club's medical team.
In a statement, Flamengo termed the test result weak positive or inconclusive and said it was performing a second test. It suspended all training for the first team and youth team squads for a week.
The announcement came on the day the Rio de Janeiro state championship was suspended for 15 days.
Jesus had criticized the Rio state football federation for allowing games to go on last weekend, saying footballers and backroom staff were not super human and deserved more care.
Meanwhile in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, players from Brazilian club Gremio in Porto Alegre took to the field wearing masks on Sunday in protest at having to play a soccer match as fears over coronavirus grow in Brazil.
The players, led by manager Renato Portaluppi, walked out of the tunnel to play Sao Luiz and lined up before the game wearing white masks over their faces.
This protest by the players to take the field wearing masks makes implicit our support for the championship to be halted, Paulo Luz, Gremio's director of football, said in quotes reported by Brazilian website UOL. Life must take precedence.
No spectators were allowed into the Gremio arena for the Gaucho state championship match. The protest comes as players and clubs across South America are starting to complain at decisions by footballing authorities to order games to be played, but behind closed doors.
In Argentina, River Plate refused to play their Superliga cup tie against Atletico Tucuman on Saturday. The Buenos Aires club closed their stadium, leaving match officials and an advance team from Atletico outside the ground.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) suspended all national soccer competitions on Sunday due to the coronavirus outbreak, but said it was up to local federations to decide whether to halt the state championships currently under way.
The Brazilian Cup, the women’s first and second divisions, and two youth competitions, were halted until further notice, the CBF said. The main national championships, Series A through D, do not start until May.
”In relation to the state championships, in respect of their local autonomy, the state football federations, the organizing authorities, will have to (decide) on each competition,” the CBF said.