Nea Salamina football club announced on Tuesday that nine new cases of coronavirus were found after testing all members of the club, staff and players, on Sunday.
The news comes after ten players tested positive on Sunday, which prompted the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) to activate the health protocol put in place by the health ministry and postpone the match between Nea Salamina and Doxa, which was scheduled to take place on Monday.
“The situation at our club is difficult, so our thoughts now are with our players, our staff and their families,” a statement published by the club on Monday said.
“Although our team is already struggling in this battle, we are confident that we will manage to come out of this unprecedented situation and at the same time protect everyone involved.”
The health ministry confirmed the new cases, but censured the club for doing the tests at a private lab, thus breaking quarantine.
In a statement Tuesday, the ministry said it was informed of the issue in the morning. Of the eight positive cases, six had been declared by the club as close contacts of the previous incidents to the contact tracing team, the ministry said.
After that, health authorities had launched the process of tracking down and testing the individuals. Clear instructions had been given to the club management to isolate the individuals as well as the protocol that needed to be followed.
Despite this the club, on its own initiative, instructed its players and other staff to be tested at a private facility, thus violating quarantine.
The ministry advised people who may have come into contact with the team’s footballers or staff from September 17 onwards, to call 1412 for instructions.
On September 18, a football player of Nea Salamina who arrived from Angola on September 14 through Portugal and Austria tested positive, prompting the club to test all its players and staff, 59 people in total.
All the tests came back negative on the same day. However, doctors recommended that 15 out of the 59 tests conducted had to be repeated on Saturday.
Of those 15 new tests, ten players were found to be positive on Sunday for the coronavirus.
According to the protocol, a match has to be postponed if four players on the same team test positive for Covid-19 in a period of seven days.
The protocol also says that teams with confirmed cases of coronavirus must test all their players within 24 hours.
Players and staff found negative will be allowed to return to the pitch, but training will be held behind closed doors for at least seven days. After seven days, the entire club will undergo a second test.