DRESDEN, Germany (AP) — Two players at German second division side Dynamo Dresden tested positive for the new coronavirus on Saturday, putting on hold the club’s planned return to soccer next weekend.
Dresden was to play Hannover away on May 17 when the league resumes after a two-month suspension, but the entire squad, coaching and supervisory staff must now go into 14 days of quarantine at home.
“We are in contact with the responsible health authorities and the league to coordinate all further steps. The fact is that we can neither train nor participate in any games over the next 14 days,” Dresden sporting director Ralf Minge said.
The players were not identified. Their positive results for COVID-19 were found in a third wave of tests conducted at the club on Friday as part of the league’s hygiene protocol to get soccer back underway in Germany.
One player tested positive for COVID-19 in the first wave of tests and has been in quarantine since May 3. There were no positive cases in the second wave on May 4. The team returned to full training on Thursday, when the German soccer league announced the Bundesliga and second division would restart on May 16.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the day before that the top two divisions could resume without spectators. Teams were to spend one week training in isolation before the games could resume. It was initially supposed to be two weeks.
“With regular tests, it’s a different situation to when somebody is just tested at the beginning and end of the quarantine,” Merkel said of the change.
Dresden said the two players who tested positive on Friday did not and were still not showing any symptoms of the virus.
Earlier Saturday, Peter Dabrock, the former chairperson of the German Ethics Council, criticized the decision to resume soccer.
“It will have a fatal effect on the overall compliance with the restrictions,” Dabrock told news agency dpa. “If the mantra is no contact, (keep) distance, hygiene, protection, but then of all things you allow a sport in which none of this can be adhered to from the beginning, then of course it will have the effect that people ask themselves, ‘Why do I have to stick to such restrictions?’”
As of Saturday, Germany registered just over 7,500 known deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Merkel’s announcement of a loosening of strict containment measures came after a fall in the rate of daily infections in the country.