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14 Oct, 2020 17:19

Cristiano Ronaldo jets to Italy on 'private air ambulance' but Portugal health chiefs insist Covid quarantine rules not broken

Cristiano Ronaldo jets to Italy on 'private air ambulance' but Portugal health chiefs insist Covid quarantine rules not broken

A day after being diagnosed with Covid-19 Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has travelled back to Turin by 'private air ambulance' but Portuguese health officials insist that no quarantine rules have been breached.

Ronaldo left Portugal's Nations League squad ahead of their clash with Sweden in Lisbon on Wednesday evening aboard a Bombardier Learjet 45XR LX-ONE which has been specially designed to act as a state-of-the-art 'air ambulance'.

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The flight, which departed Portugal at 1.45pm local time, is operated by Luxembourg Air Rescue who specialize in repatriating people who have suffered injury or illness overseas. The flight comes after reports that Ronaldo had asked for permission to return to Turin to complete his recovery from the illness at home.

Questions had been raised as to the wisdom of transporting a person suffering from the potentially fatal Covid-19, particularly given the the timeline of Ronaldo's diagnosis almost certainly meaning that he is currently contagious.

However, Portugal's Director General of Health has stated that Ronaldo's situation was no different from any other person who had contracted Covid-19 outside of the country in which they live, adding that the five time Ballon d'Or winner signed a document to confirm he would self-isolate once he returned home.

"Their transport in conditions of security is entirely the responsibility of patients who have been diagnosed with coronavirus and want to return to the country they officially reside in," Grace Freitas remarked.

"Once they’ve arranged that transport they’re submitted to an evaluation by health authorities and they are asked to sign a declaration in which they assume responsibility regarding the period of self-isolation they have to abide by.

"That was what happened in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo."

Jose Fonte and Anthony Lopes, the two other Portugal players who also tested positive for coronavirus, have also since returned to France where they play. 

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Earlier, Portugal manager Fernando Santos said that Ronaldo has reacted to the situation very professionally.

"He is managing the situation very well," Santos said before Ronaldo was transported to Italy. "He is in the room, saying he wants to play, he talks to us from his balcony.

"He is completely asymptomatic, he is OK, without any symptoms, he doesn't even know what happened to him."

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