• Chinese football team Wuhan Zall coached by Spaniard José González arrive in Spain in wake of Caronovirus alert

Chief Sports Editor LEADER EXCLUSIVE

Wuhan Zall football staff and players have arrived in Malaga – in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong – to play a football fixture in Andalusia, Spain.

Wuhan Zall, who play in the Chinese first division, the football club of the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus, arrived in Málaga on Wednesday, for pre-season training.

Wuhan Zall coach is Spaniard José González. Spanish authorities in Andalucia said they have no concerns about the arrival of the Chinese football club from Wuhan.

Wuhan Zall, based in the centre of the deadly outbreak of the virus, will be training in Spain for  two weeks.

The team was training in Guanghzou, located nearly 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) from Wuhan, before making the trip to Spain. The team was expected to stop in Shanghai and Istanbul, before arriving in Malaga.

Authorities said none of the players or members of the coaching staff had any symptoms linked to the virus. Health officials were expected to continue to monitor their condition, while in Spain.

No members of the party have virus-related symptoms, according to a statement by the Board of Health and Families of the ‘Junta de Andalucia’, the regional government.

The outbreak had its epicentre in Wuhan, and infected over 4,500 people, with over 100 deaths.

Wuhan Zall football staff have been out of the city since January 2 and pass the maximum incubation period to monitor.

The Coronavirus Monitoring Advisory Group in Andalusia carried out a follow-up check upon the arrival of the team.

Following the outbreak of the deadly virus last Thursday, no one has been allowed to leave or enter Wuhan, quarantined by the virus.

The team’s arrival to Europe came as the European Commission on Tuesday activated the EU Civil Protection mechanism to provide consular support to EU citizens in Wuhan.

In the wake of Wuhan Zall football club’s arrival in Spain, Marc Fernández Giralt, Wuhan Shangwen’s coach, who lives in Hong Kong, said: “The authorities warned that the airport was going to close.

“I checked that international flights had not been cancelled, so that I could fly back to Hong Kong.”

International flights are unaffected – in contrast to all domestic flights cancelled and airport closure in Hong Kong.

Chinese first-division team Wuhan Zall is coached by Spaniard José González.
Chinese first-division team Wuhan Zall is coached by Spaniard José González.

Marc, who had to pass through temperature controls, when he arrived in Hong Kong, kept in liaison with the team, trapped in Wuhan.

Wuhan, the city in China at the centre of the global deadly Coronavirus outbreak, saw the spread of the virus, leading to Chinese authorities taking drastic measures – including the isolation of 13 cities.

Due to the outbreak of the virus Beijing cancelled traditional parties and events to celebrate the beginning of the 2020 ‘Year of the Rat’.

“The airports are closed, the subway is closed and mobility is a bit more limited,” said Óliver Cuadrado, Spanish co-ordinator of the Wuhan Shangwen football team.

“One of the recommendations was everyone should wear masks – everyone is wearing masks.”

He said the club had kept him and his team fully informed on how they should act, due to the Coronavirus situation: “We have information. Together we help each other – if something happens to someone. For now, we are all well and everything is fine.”

The Regional Ministry of Health and Families has assured no members of the Wuhan football team have symptoms of the Caronavirus.

All members of the Chinese Division 1 football club Wuhan Zall have undergone monitoring by the authorities.

A Regional Ministry of Health and Families spokesperson said the Advisory Group Monitoring Coronavirus in Andalusia will continue to undertake monitoring during the Wuhan football club’s presence in Spain.