“Unfortunately [o jogo de portões fechados] it was for a very delicate cause that is happening, the coronavirus. We wish we hadn’t been going through this, but it happens. Now we stay in the crowd [para que melhore]”says Hulk, who had previously played in an empty stadium in Russia, but as a punishment for his former Zenit club, not for a public warning.
The coronavirus has completely changed the routine of large Chinese cities, especially Shanghai, where Hulk lives: the largest metropolis in the country has already registered thirteen cases of the disease. That is why, authorities even canceled weddings and changed holiday dates to avoid concentration of people.
According to the staff of Hulk, the orientation given to the player is to avoid crowds, eat meals at home and only go out for appointments at the club.
The epicenter of the cases is the city of Wuhan, which has been isolated from the rest of the country since last week. The city is more than 800 kilometers from Shanghai and has received logistical reinforcement for the emergency construction of hospitals and patient care.
“The doctors here are doing a spectacular job,” says Hulk. “On Chinese New Year’s Day more than 150 doctors left Shanghai to provide help in Wuhan. On such a special date, leaving home to go to another city to save lives … It is an attitude of valuing yourself, taking off your hat “, says the player.
Chinese football has also been affected by the coronavirus. In addition to the departure of the Shanghai SIPG with closed gates, the first round of the Chinese Championship and the decision of the country’s Super Cup were postponed indefinitely.
The 3-0 win over Thailand’s Buriram United was the first game of 2020 for Shanghai SIPG. Hulk scored the third goal, from a penalty, and the team – which also has Oscar in the squad – qualified for the group stage of the Asian Cup.