Covid-stricken Brazil to host Copa America football tournament

Brazil on Monday stepped in to host the forthcoming Copa America soccer match, regardless of struggling one of many world’s worst coronavirus crises and dealing with a looming third wave of the illness.

The announcement got here after earlier co-hosts Argentina and Colombia pulled out. Buenos Aires cited an growing variety of Covid-19 cases and Bogotá pointed to the protests gripping Colombia.

The competitors — which was already postponed as soon as final yr — is because of start within the coming weeks.

“The oldest national team tournament in the world will make the whole continent vibrate,” tweeted Conmebol, the South American soccer federation, thanking Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro for his “immediate support” for the competitors.

Latin America and the Caribbean has been considered one of world’s worst hit areas by Covid-19, with greater than 1m succumbing to the illness and tens of tens of millions extra hit by the financial fallout. The area accounts for 30 per cent of all international fatalities from the pandemic.

In Brazil alone, greater than 460,000 residents have died, the second highest tally on the planet in absolute numbers after the US. In per capita figures, the nation ranks eighth.

The determination by Brazil to host the match drew ridicule and scorn from pundits and politicians, with many suggesting it would worsen the unfold of coronavirus and evaluating it with the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics which is inflicting consternation in Japan.

“Is Bolsonaro serious? Amid the pandemic, the arrival of the third wave, the risk of lack of beds and supplies and with slow vaccinations? Unbelievable,” mentioned Gleisi Hoffmann, the president of the opposition Workers’ social gathering.

Paulo Câmara, the governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, mentioned the state wouldn’t allow any video games to be held there.

Despite enduring a brutal second wave simply months in the past, scientists and medical doctors in Latin America’s largest nation have already sounded the alarm over a possible contemporary spike after a decline in case numbers stalled. The seven-day common of every day new circumstances was again above 61,000 on Sunday, up from 56,000 a month in the past.

Neighbouring Argentina, in the meantime, is within the midst of a second wave.

“With so many cases, we couldn’t go ahead with the organisation of a championship like this,” mentioned Santiago Cafiero, Argentine authorities’s cupboard chief. “We had committed to organising it, we tried to keep our promise, but the epidemiological reality prevented us.”

Some 70 per cent of Argentines are in opposition to holding the match within the nation, based on a ballot by Poliarquia

In Colombia, President Iván Duque requested Conmebol to postpone the match till November owing to persevering with protests in opposition to his authorities. Some of the matches had been on account of be performed within the metropolis of Cali, which has develop into the epicentre of the protests.

Conmebol refused and mentioned it could search for another venue. 

The internet hosting of the Copa America is often determined by alphabetical order, though there have been many adjustments to the match’s format in its 105-year historical past. The match was final hosted — and received — by Brazil in 2019.

Additional reporting by Carolina Pulice

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