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Five new Covid-19 cases at Kaizer Chiefs bring total to 36

Kaizer Chiefs players at their Naturena training base in the south of Johannesburg. Naturena is on lockdown with the club operating on a skeleton staff. File picture.
Kaizer Chiefs players at their Naturena training base in the south of Johannesburg. Naturena is on lockdown with the club operating on a skeleton staff. File picture.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs has revealed that the club is dealing with five new cases of Covid-19 — bringing the total to 36 at the Naturena-based club.

Chiefs were to play Lamontville Golden Arrows in Durban on Wednesday and have decided against travelling to KwaZulu-Natal in view of the escalating crisis. They also did not honour their home game against Cape Town City at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

 “Sadly, the test results revealed that the outbreak of Covid-19 that initially motivated Kaizer Chiefs to put in a request for postponement of matches had spread further within the camp — with five more people testing positive for the virus, bringing the number of reported cases in the past few days with the club to 36,” the club said on Tuesday. “The increase in positive cases does not come as a huge surprise to the medical team, given the many infections already detected within the club, a situation that led to the immediate suspension of activities at the village for several days, in accordance with the NICD and department of health protocol.”

Chiefs’ physician Dr Hashendra Ramjee said this was why the club decided against playing while battling to contain the increasing number of infections.

“This shows us why it was important for the team to temporarily avoid playing or interacting with others as this could potentially cause the virus to spread beyond the club — which is an undesirable situation for all involved,” he said. “It is our responsibility to contain the outbreak as much as we can.”

Chiefs wrote to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) late last week asking for a postponement of all four of their league matches in December when they reached 31 cases.

Chiefs were to play Lamontville Golden Arrows on Wednesday December 8 at Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban.

“While Kaizer Chiefs awaits the PSL's decision the playing squad has cautiously resumed return to play protocols today.

“In a concerted effort to restore the village to an environment safe enough to be reopened as soon as reasonably possible, the club performed more Covid-19 tests on the available senior and junior teams’ players, members of the technical team and support staff on Monday morning.”

Chiefs concluded: “On a more positive note, some staff will be emerging from isolation and returning to work in the coming days. However, players who have completed their isolation will need to undergo special return to play protocols to get them back to match fitness.

“Kaizer Chiefs doctors continue to keep a close eye on the situation and have imposed strict protocols in the hope of alleviating the crisis in the coming week, as more people are expected to come out of isolation.

“We will not endanger the lives of citizens by engaging in air travel from a province with the most infections to another. We call on responsible behaviour and the need to act as leaders as we deal with this pandemic and these extraordinary circumstances.”

Chiefs have said they will be unable to put together a team for their matches in December due to the outbreak.

TimesLIVE is informed Chiefs' initial request was declined by the PSL, but the league's executive committee will review the situation in a meeting on Wednesday morning.

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