Malaria infected football player claims he was forcibly removed from air ambulance

Libyan Footballer claims he did not test positive for Covid-19 and that he was removed from the air ambulance to make room for a Parliament Member's son

The player in a post on Facebook stated that his seat was taken and he was denied treatment so that the MP’s son could spend the summer in Italy. [Photo: Facebook]

Wesam Hijazi, a Libyan mini-footballer, denied having Covid-19. The athlete claimed that the story was untrue and that he was taken off the Rapid Aid Service aircraft to Rome to allow an MP’s kid to board and spend the summer in Italy.

“They took me and Captain Rabie to give our seats away,” Hijazi said on Facebook. During the tournament, a number of players got infected with Malaria, one died, and the others were sent to Italy for treatment.

“We were 12 players, split into 6 on each aircraft, and at the airport, they called our names, including Wesam and Rabie, who were then taken from the plane,” said Aseel Al-Tarhouni, who was also on the plane.

“After Wissam and Rabie boarded the aircraft, the accompanying doctor asked them to exit. The doctor stated Wesam had COVID-19 despite a negative PCR test. He also said that the passenger list did not contain Rabie.”

“Two individuals arrived just after them and took their seats. They are Salem Qanan’s son and Rafie Baiou,” he said.

The authorities informed us our teammates would join another aircraft once they were brought down. We left and didn’t locate them,” he added.

Rafea Baiou claimed to be a pilot, according to Al-Tarhouni. So he would avoid quarantine in London, he agreed to come with us through Rome instead of Turkey.

In Rome, Libyan authorities ordered Bayou and Qanan’s kid to remain in the rear and not leave before us. “Baiou told us not to mention Rabie and Wesam to the Italians,” Al-Tarhouni added.

Libyan Air Ambulances, for its part, said it had been monitoring the situation on social media and that the flight had been delayed given the lack of authorization to treat the players.

The service said in its statement: “During a regular passenger screening, one of the players was found to have Covid-19 and was denied boarding to protect the other passengers and staff. The second passenger lacked permission and was not on the approved lists.”

The statement also mentioned the passengers who allegedly replaced the players on the aircraft. “They have a reservation on the aircraft because we are attempting to help people go to Europe. The travellers went to the Rapid Aid Office on Thursday and were approved. Due to the Libyan airlines’ prohibition on landing at European airports, they had the chance. A private airplane was hired to carry corona infected and malarial to Italy.”

According to the service, it had released a photo (of the passengers in question with their names and all permissions) but kept the name and test results of the individual infected with Covid-19 for privacy and professionalism.

The message came from the Libyan Air Ambulances Public Information Office. Wesam Hijazi, the footballer, denied having Covid-19, claiming his PCR was negative.

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