Barcelona’s COVID-19 outbreak swells, Leicester-Norwich off

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Barcelona squad swelled to 10 on Thursday, potentially jeopardizing the team’s return to league play after Spain’s winter break of nearly two weeks.

Meanwhile, in England, Saturday’s match between Leicester and Norwich in the Premier League was postponed because Norwich did not have the required numbers to play as a result of COVID-19 cases and injuries. It is the 17th match to be called off in the league in the past month.

Sergiño Dest, Philippe Coutinho and Abde Ezzalzouli are the latest players to contract COVID-19, Barcelona said. They are self-isolating at home and the team said they were “in good health.”

The club already announced this week that Ousmane Dembélé, Samuel Umtiti, Gavi, Jordi Alba, Alejandro Balde, Clement Lenglet and Dani Alves had tested positive and were isolating.

Barcelona is also depleted by injuries going into Sunday’s match at Mallorca in seventh place.

Real Madrid said Wednesday that four players — Vinicius Jr., Thibaut Courtois, Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga — tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Sunday’s game against Getafe.

During the break, Dest and Vinicius had posted photos on Instagram of their respective trips to Miami. They included court-side photos at a Miami Heat basketball game and pictures with star Jimmy Butler. Vinicius’ account included one of him with Heat guard Tyler Herro. They all wore masks in the photos.

On Wednesday, the Heat was unable to meet the NBA’s requirement of eight available players for the game against San Antonio, leading to it being postponed. Miami had 12 players listed as out because of a combination of injuries and positive virus tests.

ENGLAND

Leicester now has three matches to catch up on, having previously seen fixtures against Everton and Tottenham get called off.

Norwich, which is in last place, will be two games in arrears after an earlier postponement against West Ham.

Premier League teams are required to have 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper available to play in a match, and the league deemed that was not the case with Norwich.

It is the first game to be called off in the 21st round of fixtures.

FRANCE

French club Angers asked the soccer league to postpone its home game against Saint-Etienne on Jan. 9 because of a high number of coronavirus cases.

Angers said there were 19 confirmed cases among its squad of 30 players and that more than 10 will not be authorized to play again until Jan. 10. Angers added that a further five staff members have the virus.

Angers had five players out with COVID-19 when it lost at Montpellier 4-1 on Dec. 22 before the winter break.

Strasbourg said coach Julien Stephan has the virus but is showing no symptoms.

Meanwhile, Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta wrote on Instagram that he tested positive on vacation in Dubai and is isolating there.

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