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Sport German club plans mass virus testing to fill stadium again

13:07  11 july  2020
13:07  11 july  2020 Source:   ap.org

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German researchers plan to regularly test over 100,000 people to see if they have overcome infection with coronavirus (COVID-19) to track its spread Dr. Krause would work institutions on the front line of Germany 's response to the virus , including disease control authority the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)

The German Football League (DFL) had been hoping for the government to give the green light and end a two-month suspension but Chancellor Merkel told a Thursday press conference that any decision on when sports activities could resume would be taken on May 6.

BERLIN (AP) — German soccer club Union Berlin is offering free coronavirus tests for more than 20,000 fans as part of a plan to hold games in a full stadium in September.

Anthony Ujah of Union Berlin scores his teams first goal past Goalkeeper, Florian Kastenmeier of Fortuna Dusseldorf during a German Bundesliga soccer match between Union Berlin and Fortuna Duesseldorf in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 27, 2020.  (Maja Hitij/dpa via AP, pool) © Provided by Associated Press Anthony Ujah of Union Berlin scores his teams first goal past Goalkeeper, Florian Kastenmeier of Fortuna Dusseldorf during a German Bundesliga soccer match between Union Berlin and Fortuna Duesseldorf in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 27, 2020. (Maja Hitij/dpa via AP, pool)

The Bundesliga club will offer testing ahead of each game to 22,012 fans — the stadium's official capacity — and club staff, Union said Friday night. Each person must test negative for the virus within 24 hours of kickoff and bring confirmation along with a ticket, the club added.

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Plans for any coronavirus pandemic include quarantine in secure sites such as Manigurr-ma or sports stadia . “As humans will have little or no pre-existing immunity to a pandemic virus and influenza viruses can be transmitted among people without symptoms, prevention is not considered realistic.”

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Union wants to implement the plan in time for the first home league game of the new season, which could be as soon as Sept. 18. Other clubs have experimented with socially distanced seating plans, but more than 80% of the capacity at Union's stadium consists of terraces where fans stand close together.

“Our stadium experience doesn’t work with social distancing, and if we aren’t allowed to sing and shout, then it’s not Union,” club president Dirk Zingler said in a statement.

“We want to ensure as best we can that nobody is infected at our sold-out stadium – this applies to Union club members and the away supporters.

"To implement such a plan is an enormous organizational and economic challenge, which we are happy to tackle with all our might. It means that we as a football club will carry the costs of implementing the necessary measures ourselves.”

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Officials hope their efforts to expand testing will enable local governments to contain new outbreaks by tracking new infections and tracing them to others who have been exposed. As some states begin to ease back open after months in lockdown, the demand for testing has risen.

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The club's plan is more ambitious than those of other German clubs because it relies on mass testing instead of social distancing. It faces significant obstacles. Germany has a comparatively large testing capacity for the coronavirus, but the pre-game surge in demand in Berlin would be a new challenge.

The Berlin city government also has a ban in place on mass gatherings until Oct. 24. That rule caused the Berlin marathon, which was set for Sept. 27, to be canceled.

Leipzig has explored holding games at up to 50% capacity with socially distanced seating and other leading German clubs have worked on similar plans. The league is speaking with the German government and is encouraging clubs to talk with local health authorities to draw up plans.

The Bundesliga restarted in May amid the coronavirus pandemic, the first of Europe's major leagues to do so. All games through to the end of the season were held without any fans.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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