Yesterday, at a meeting of the heads of the Peruvian soccer team, it was agreed that the last possible steps will be taken so that the Ministry of Health authorize capacity for the match of the Peruvian team against Ecuador, this February 1 at the National Stadium. From the Peruvian Football Federation They trust that, between today and tomorrow, the permission will be made official for between 30 to 50 percent of fans to enter the next and decisive match against the Ecuadorian team.
This Monday the new sanitary measures should be published to contain the outbreak of the pandemic, in this third wave dominated by the variant Omicron. . Until the end of last year, professional football could organize shows with 30 percent of the capacity, but before the appearance of this third wave, the Minsa reported that the capacity in sporting events was reduced to zero percent. “It will be very difficult for people to be in the stadiums because the speed of contagion is very high and we don’t want to put people at risk. The decision is that, for now, there will be no public until that peak that continues to rise falls. We cannot risk it ”, declared the Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos to Radio Ovation. The president of the FPF, Agustín Lozano, has already communicated with the Minister and the meeting will take place in the next few hours.
“In the FPF we clearly understand that the Minsa has been fulfilling an arduous task to counteract the third wave of the COVID and we believe that this will be achieved with great intelligence on the part of the authorities and the respect of the population. We hope that, when the time comes for the competition, government regulations will allow us to have a capacity at the National Stadium “Elkin Sotelo, Communications Manager for the FPF.
Those who defend the option of having a public capacity in the Peru-Ecuador, emphasize that stadiums are open-air spaces and that vaccination has advanced optimally throughout the country. The former doctor of the Peruvian team, Julio Grados, proposes that 30 percent of spectators be allowed to enter, with the requirement that the three doses of vaccines be presented.
An argument that will also be used in the meeting between the FPFA and the MINSA is that the matches with the public played last year (meetings of the Peruvian team and the final of League 1) did not determine a re-outbreak of the pandemic.
“We are going from one extreme to another. For example, in the wide and open spaces like the beaches, despite the fact that they were all closed on New Years, then there was an overcrowding in places like Agua Dulce. That seemed absurd to me and now they are free spaces. You have to have a bit of consistency. The stadiums are open spaces and I believe that the capacity that was managed until November of last year can be applied. That could be maintained with orderly access and preventing people from crowding. Only the entry and exit should be regulated in these movements. It is an exaggeration to go to zero percent, you have to apply the capacity criterion in open spaces, as it is being applied on the beaches “, comments the former Minister of Health, Óscar Ugarte. This specialist also stated that the requirement should be to request two vaccines and not three, because this could become “a discriminatory element.”
For Elkin Sotelo, the Ministry of Health should evaluate how professional soccer has performed in these two years of the pandemic and how health protocols were handled to avoid infections: “It must be remembered that football and the FPF protocols have been more than exemplary and effective in recent national team matches. We have made a very strong investment to take care of the spectators and the security has been of the highest level. We believe that these protocols have hardly been carried out in other activities in the country. We consider that soccer, when played in an open-air stadium and with the respective distancing, does not represent a risk for people who freely make the decision to attend while being vaccinated.”, He concludes.
“The idea of facing a third wave had been raised since August of last year and was being announced every month. Despite that, I think this third wave has caught the government off guard. I get the impression that some measures are being improvised. That is why we see different criteria in open spaces such as beaches and stadiums “, asserts Ugarte.
The Colombia case
Before facing Ecuador, The Peruvian team will face Colombia on January 28 at the Metropolitan Stadium in Barranquilla. This meeting will be played with a capacity of one hundred percent, as announced by the mayor of this city, Jaime Pumarejo. It is important to specify that Barranquilla is the fourth city with the highest number of infections in Colombia, a country that is also experiencing an outbreak of the pandemic (with a prevalence of the Omicron variant), with numbers very similar to Peru.
“In Barranquilla they consider that since it is an outdoor event and with the public wearing a mask, it should not represent an epidemiological risk. An analysis that was made was in the match with Paraguay last year, with this capacity, it does not change the infection rates. That argument of the mayor determined this free way “Romero explains.
The other reasons that the mayor Pumarejo has exposed is that although the rate of infections has increased, this has not determined that the percentages of hospitalization increase. The last 20 days have been days of great growth in infections by Ómicron, however, admissions to hospital and ICU have not skyrocketed. The main requirement to enter the stadium, on January 28, will be the presentation of the vaccination card (two doses) and the mandatory use of a mask. In Barranquilla there are more than 90 percent of the population vaccinated with the first dose and more than 70 percent with the second dose.
Who would attend the meeting with him Minister Cevallos would Agustin Lozano, president of the FPF, and the general secretary, Óscar Chiri. For now, it has not been confirmed that Ricardo Gareca, coach of the national team, or Juan Carlos Oblitas, sports director of the FPF, participate in these coordinations. While the preparation of this report was being completed, the first formal conversations had already taken place. If there is a meeting, in which President Pedro Castillo could also participate, it would be between today and tomorrow. The entry of the public to the Peru-Ecuador party still has a minimum percentage of viability.