Depleted Chinese football team quarantined in Brisbane amid coronavirus fears

China's footballing women will spend several days isolated in a Brisbane hotel over fears of coronavirus, having arrived in Australia ahead of next week's Olympic qualifiers without two of their most important players.

Wang Shuang is the star of the Chinese team

Wang Shuang is the star of the Chinese team Source: Getty

The Chinese women's national football team is in isolation in Brisbane after arriving on Wednesday morning.

The team were in the city of Wuhan on 22 January and will be required to stay at their inner-city hotel until 5 February over fears that members may have the deadly coronavirus.

New restrictions being enforced by the state government require anyone returning from Wuhan to self-isolate for a fortnight after leaving the central Chinese city. 

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The team has arrived in Australia ahead of next week's Olympic women's football qualifiers.

It already faces challenges, with two key players unable to travel due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Experienced midfielder Wang Shuang and 22-year-old Yao Wei were among several absentees when the squad arrived in Brisbane on Wednesday morning.

The pair were among a group of at least four players who returned to their native Wuhan for Chinese New Year, with the city since placed in lockdown following the outbreak of the virus which has killed dozens and left thousands ill.

China women's team trains ahead of the World Cup
China women's team trains ahead of the World Cup last year. Source: Getty


A team official told AAP on Tuesday Wang and Yao were unavailable due to travel restrictions.

The players will remain at home in isolation and under observation but it's understood none have shown any related symptoms of the virus.

The absences are a big blow to the Steel Roses.

Wang has played over 100 matches for China, scoring 28 goals, while Yao was a member of last year's World Cup squad and has made 22 international appearances.

Wuhan was the original location for the Group B fixtures in the final round of Asian qualifiers for this year's Olympics.

The six group matches also featuring Australia, Thailand and Taiwan were originally relocated to Nanjing and then Sydney after China withdrew as hosts at the weekend.



The Chinese team trained in isolation in Suzhou before departing for Australia and AAP understands the players will undergo extra precautions due to the virus.

Along with staff, they all underwent testing before departure with none returning a positive.

The team will remain in Brisbane before heading to Sydney on Friday, with their tournament opener against Thailand at Campbelltown Stadium on Monday.

"They went through all the same checks that any Chinese national flying in from China would have gone through," FFA chief executive James Johnson said.

"We're confident in the government's checks and balances."

China second match will be against Taiwan at Campbelltown next Thursday before facing the Matildas at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday, 9 February.

The top two teams progress to a two-leg home and away playoff against the top two from Group A for a spot in the Olympics.


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Published 29 January 2020 at 6:06pm
Source: SBS