BEIJING: Chinese footballer Wu Lei has tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptom as he currently conducts self-isolation at home in Barcelona, Spain, a source revealed to Xinhua.
Wu, who plays for La Liga’s Espanyol, is the only Chinese player from one of the top five major European football leagues, and he became the first Chinese professional footballer to be tested positive for COVID-19.
“Wu has mild symptom and now isolates himself at home in Spain,” the source told Xinhua.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) also confirmed Wu’s postive test result later on Saturday, noting that Wu is now receiving medical treatment, and the CFA will keep close contact with Wu and Espanyol club to provide any necessary help.
Espanyol have confirmed on Wednesday that six members of the club staff have tested positive for the coronavirus, but didn’t reveal the names of the players who have been infected, which raised Chinese fans’ concern on Wu’s health conditions.
However, the leading figure in Chinese football published his weekly journal later on Wednesday to tell fans “rest assured” and released a video that he plays with his two kids at home, the concern then alleviated until the breaking result eventually reported on Saturday.
“Wu is the hope of Chinese football. He gave up his high salary at domestic league to chase dream overseas. Hope he can recover soon,” thousands of Chinese football fans said on the internet as “Wu Lei tests positive” has become the one of the top searches at China’s twitter-like platform Weibo.
According to Spainish media, Espanol staff did the COVID-19 tests on March 11 and one day later the club stopped all training activities after La Liga postponed the following two rounds of matches.
As there is no further information of when and where Wu was infected, Chinese media started to worry about the men’s national team head coach Li Tie, who met with Wu at Barcelona on March 2 and now leads a training camp of 25 players at Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
“Does this mean that Li had close contact with the COVID-19 patient?” several media questioned.” whether he and all national team players should be isolated?”