Celtic quartet caught up in Covid call-off drama while on international duty

Four Celtic players have been caught up in Covid-19 drama while on international duty.

Celtic pair Hatem Abd Elhamed (L) and Nir Bitton are both on internatinal duty with Israel (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Celtic pair Hatem Abd Elhamed (L) and Nir Bitton are both on internatinal duty with Israel (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Mohamed Elyounoussi and Kristoffer Ajer are part of the Norway squad that had been due to face an Israel side featuring Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed in a friendly match in Oslo on Tuesday evening, however, the fixture has been postponed by the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) due to concerns over a possible coronavirus outbreak among the Israel squad.

One unnamed member of the Israel camp has tested positive for the virus with at least three other close contacts self-isolating.

Celtic: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Celtic: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Due to the developments, the Norwegian government’s health board strongly recommended that the match be cancelled due to the risk posed, leading the NFF to take the decision to postpone the fixture.

Celtic duo Bitton and Elhamed previously tested positive for the virus while on international duty with Israel last month.

Confirming the call-off, the Israel FA stated: “The match between the Norwegian and Israeli teams that was scheduled to take place tonight was cancelled in accordance with the decisions of the authorities in Norway.”

NFF secretary general Pal Bjerketvedt said: "It is of course sad to cancel a match hours before kick-off. At the same time, it underlines the seriousness of the situation we are in.

"Over 500 international matches in Europe have been held this autumn. Therefore, we are confident that the protocols provide the necessary infection control framework around the matches that are played.

"Now that the health authorities are unsure of the risk of spreading after an outbreak of infection in the Israeli squad and recommend cancelling the match, we will of course follow this."

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