Qatar confirms first virus death among Fifa World Cup workforce
A source close to the tournament organisers said 121 infections are still active of the 1,102 cases of Covid-19 reported
Doha — Fifa World Cup organisers in Qatar reported the first coronavirus death of a worker involved in construction of 2022 tournament venues on Thursday.
A source close to the Qatari tournament organisers said that 1,102 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed among workers at tournament projects with 121 infections still active.
First reported by the relaunched Doha News, a site popular among expatriates in Qatar, the victim was an engineer in his 50s who had no underlying medical conditions.
Qatar has one of the highest per capita infection rates in the world with 3.3% of its 2.75-million population having tested positive. Most have since recovered with only 17,118 active cases reported in the latest official statistics, with 106 deaths.
“Sadly, on June 11 2020, a specialist engineer employed by the contractor Conspel, tragically died after contracting Covid-19,” the Qatari organisation responsible for putting together the 2022 tournament said in a statement.
“He had worked on the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy projects since October 2019 and had no underlying health issues. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
His nationality was not disclosed.
The Qatari organisers reported the first infections among its workforce on April 15 with five cases across three stadium projects. Work continues at 2022 sites but has slowed to allow coronavirus containment measures, including screening and social-distancing with Qatari officials saying preparations are, nevertheless, more than 80% complete.
Organisers have removed all high-risk workers from projects on full pay, undertake temperature checks on workers twice daily, and imposed distancing rules in dining halls and staff transport to limit the virus’s spread.
Construction at infrastructure to stage the tournament continues throughout the crisis, even as Qatar halted non-essential retail and worship at mosques, and parks and restaurants closed.
Qatar has begun a cautious reopening programme with socially distanced worship permitted in some mosques and non-essential retail permitted. Cafés and restaurants are due to reopen subject to strict controls from July 1.
The timing of the competition, due to be held in November and December of 2022, remain unchanged by Covid-19, which has already forced the postponement of the European football championships and the Tokyo Olympics. Both will now take place in 2021.