Despite the danger of the coronavirus, the Copa America will go well in Brazil

Brazil’s Supreme Court has given the green light to host the Copa América despite the coronavirus pandemic, paving the way for the football tournament.

“It is the responsibility of [gouverneurs et maires des États] establish appropriate health protocols and ensure that they are followed in order to avoid new infections and the emergence of new variants ”, wrote Judge Carmen Lucia in her decision.

As time is running out until this Sunday’s opener, Brazil stepped in as emergency hosts for the 10 Nations tournament last week.

Already delayed by 12 months due to the pandemic, the Copa America was initially scheduled to take place in eight stadiums in Argentina and Colombia. Those plans were scrapped due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in Argentina and anti-government unrest in Colombia.

But Brazil has also struggled steadily during the pandemic, which has claimed more than 480,000 lives in the South American country, just behind the United States.

Epidemiologists, coaches and players from participating countries have expressed concern that the tournament could exacerbate the coronavirus crisis in Brazil.

“It is impossible to describe the folly of trying to organize an event of this magnitude here now”, infectious disease specialist José David Urbaez told AFP.

However, President Jair Bolsonaro, who has a reputation for downplaying expert advice on Covid-19, has given his blessing to host the Copa America.

The applications to the Supreme Court were lodged by the national union of metalworkers, the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) and the Workers’ Party (PT) of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, likely opponent of Bolsonaro in the presidential elections of next year.

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Brazilian officials are demanding matches go without supporters, including the final on July 10 at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Teams will undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test every 48 hours. Their travel will be restricted and they will travel to matches in the four host cities on chartered flights.

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