Qatar reported on Wednesday that five coronavirus cases have been detected in workers at three World Cup stadiums, the first confirmed instances among those involved in 2022 tournament projects.
The Gulf nation has reported a total of seven deaths, 3,711 COVID-19 infections and 406 recoveries since March 6 but had not previously disclosed any positive tests from workers at World Cup sites.
“The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) has confirmed that two staff members who work for an SC Contractor on the Al-Thumama Stadium project have tested positive for COVID-19,” organisers said in a statement to AFP.
“In addition, three workers, one working on the Al-Rayyan Stadium project and two on the Al-Bayt Stadium project have tested positive.”
Qatar is building seven new stadiums for the tournament, one of which has officially opened, while one existing venue was refurbished ahead of 2022.
The SC was following health ministry guidance to respond to the cases and all those affected would continue to be paid and receive free healthcare, the statement added.
The timings of the competition, due to be held in November and December of 2022, remain unchanged by the coronavirus pandemic which has already forced the postponement of the European football championships and the Tokyo Olympics. Both will now take place in 2021.
Building work for the stadiums and infrastructure to host the global soccer spectacle has continued through the crisis even as non-essential retail has been halted and mosques, parks and restaurants have closed.