Portugal detects 13 cases of Omicron linked to a football team.

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Portugal said on Monday it had identified 13 cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, all linked to Belenenses, a football club that was forced to participate in a top match over the weekend that was halted during the run.

The country’s national health institute said the 13 people were in isolation and that they were all players or staff members of Belenenses, which fielded a depleted squad of just nine players against Benfica on Saturday after reporting a coronavirus outbreak.

The institute also confirmed that one of the 13 people was a player who had recently returned to Portugal from South Africa, whose scientists helped identify Omicron. Benfica’s players will be tested for the virus, the country’s general health director, Graça Freitas, told the local TSF radio station.

Later in the day, Spain announced its first case of the Omicron variant, contracted by a person traveling from South Africa over the weekend. The patient, a 51-year-old man, has been quarantined at the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid since Sunday after traveling from South Africa with a stopover in Amsterdam, the regional government in the capital said. Officials said in a statement the man is showing only mild symptoms of the disease.

Before Saturday’s game, no fewer than 17 players and staff members of the Belenenses club tested positive for the virus, although it was unclear at the time whether it was the new variant. The Belenenses players wanted the match canceled but officials reportedly told them it had to go ahead.

Separately, Portuguese health authorities said they were tracking more than 200 passengers who had arrived in Portugal on Saturday from Maputo, Mozambique. At least two people on the flight had tested positive for the virus, but authorities said it was too early to confirm whether these were Omicron cases.

Portugal began suspending all flights to and from Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony bordering South Africa, on Monday, amid concerns about the new variant.

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