Santiago, March 11 (IANS) Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal and Inter Milan’s Alexis Sanchez will be placed in quarantine when they return to their native Chile for a World Cup qualifier, the South American country’s health minister has said.
The players are due to travel to Uruguay for a qualifier on March 26 before flying to Chile to meet Colombia five days later, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Chilean government said on Tuesday the players would not be exempted from measures to counter the coronavirus, which has claimed 4,000 lives globally, including more than 600 in Italy and 36 in Spain.
“We do not make any distinction by people’s profession because nobody is immune to this virus,” local media quoted health minister Jaime Manalich as saying.
“Of course, if these players want to work out on a machine in their homes or all be quarantined together at Juan Pinto Duran (the national football stadium), then that’s their call.”
Bologna midfielder Gary Medel is among Chile’s other Europe-based players who could be quarantined upon returning to their homeland.
The Chilean football federation did not immediately comment on the minister’s remarks.
Italy’s government has banned all sports competitions — including the Serie A — until at least April 3 in an effort to combat the outbreak. There have been 17 confirmed cases of the virus in Chile so far.