May 19, 2020 / 2:01 AM / 18 days ago

Brazil champions Flamengo return to training

(Reuters) - Brazil champions Flamengo returned to training in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, with the first task for the club evaluating the fitness of players after the COVID-19 shutdown.

Flamengo said in a statement the fitness tests and subsequent training regimes would respect social distancing and hygiene rules, and that players and officials would be tested regularly thereafter.

Earlier this month, the Rio side said three first team players had tested positive for COVID-19, along with 35 others at the club. The team’s long-time masseur died of the disease at the start of May.

Brazil’s state championships have been suspended since mid-March. Only a few top clubs have recalled their players for training and no date has been set for the season to restart.

Brazil recorded 674 new coronavirus deaths on Monday, the Health Ministry said, and announced a total of 254,220 confirmed cases, overtaking Britain to become the country with the third-highest number of infections behind the United States and Russia.

Writing by Andrew Downie in London; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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