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Qatar-Egypt flight scheduled for Handball World Cup, US, Czechs pull out amid virus

Published: Updated:

A Qatar-Egypt flight is scheduled for the upcoming 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship, while the United States and the Czech Republic have pulled out of the January 13-31 championship in Egypt after a COVID-19 outbreak among players of both teams, the International Handball Federation (IHF) confirmed.

“USA Team Handball have officially communicated to withdraw their participation in the world championship following several positive results after the obligatory COVID-19 tests,” the IHF said on its official website.

“The USA are thus the second team to announce their withdrawal due to several positive COVID-19 cases after the Czech Republic was forced to cancel their participation earlier on Tuesday.”

Switzerland will replace the United States while North Macedonia have taken the Czech Republic’s slot in the 32-team event, with hosts Egypt facing Chile in the opening match on Wednesday.

The organizers had originally planned to let up to 5,000 fans attend each game but the IHF and the Egyptian government scrapped the decision due to COVID-19 concerns and the tournament will now be held behind closed doors.

EgyptAir is set to operate its first flight to Qatar on January 18, according to media reports, after Egypt reopened its airspace with Qatar on Tuesday and announced the resumption of flights between the two countries.

“The decision allows EgyptAir and Qatar Airways, as well as other Qatari airlines, to resume air traffic and send flight operating schedules to the Egyptian and Qatari civil aviation authorities for approval,” news outlet Ahram Gate reported, citing the head of the Egyptian civil aviation authority Ashraf Noyer.

- With Reuters.

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