THE Chinese football team from the city where the coronavirus outbreak began is finally leaving Spain to return home after deciding staying would be even riskier.
Chinese Super League club Wuhan Zall sparked concern by jetting to the Costa del Sol on January 29 for warm winter training because their ground zero home city was on lockdown.
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Regional health chiefs were forced to allay the fears of locals and holidaymakers in the area by insisting none of the players or coaches had any symptoms of the killer virus.
The team, managed by Spaniard Jose Gonzalez, were due to stay at their base in the upmarket resort of Sotogrande until February 14, but extended their stay and moved to nearby Marbella due to the crisis situation in China.
Now the club has announced it is leaving Spain and returning home tomorrow after the situation improved in China and dramatically worsened in Spain.
Wuhan reported five new cases of coronavirus today – as Premier League chiefs announced they are suspending games until the start of April – the second day in a row the tally has been less than 10.
No locally transmitted infections were reported in the rest of China.
The number of coronavirus deaths in Spain this morning stood at 87 with more than 3,000 confirmed cases.
All the nation’s schools will close at the end of today for at least two weeks and the possibility of a nationwide lockdown is increasing daily, with four towns in Barcelona province already preventing people entering or leaving except in an emergency.
Wuhan Zall’s manager, confirming the team was heading home, said: “The problem is here now, in China it’s practically been eradicated.”
New signing Daniel Carrico added: “It’s true the coronavirus problem has affected the whole world, but in China things are better.
“In Europe cases are increasing daily but in Wuhan less people are falling ill and there’s only a handful of new cases.”
Wuhan Zall’s footballers left their home city on January 2 and spent time in the Chinese city of Guangzhou more than 600 miles away before travelling to Spain.
Health chiefs in southern Spain were quick to point out they had finished the 14-day standard period of incubation for the virus when they arrived.
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