World Cup organizers in Qatar reported the first coronavirus death of a worker involved in building tournament sites in 2022 on Thursday.
A source close to the tournament organizers in Qatar told AFP that 1,102 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among tournament project workers with 121 infections still active.
First reported by Doha News, recently re-launched, a website popular with expatriates in Qatar, the victim was an engineer in his fifties who had no underlying medical conditions.
Qatar has one of the highest infection rates per capita in the world, with 3.3% of its population of 2.75 million people having a positive result.
Most have recovered with only 17,591 active cases reported in the latest official statistics, along with 104 deaths.
"Unfortunately, on June 11, 2020, a 51-year-old specialist engineer employed by contractor Conspel died tragically after hiring COVID-19," the Qatar organization responsible for organizing the 2022 tournament said in a statement.
“He has worked on projects of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy since October 2019 and had no underlying health problems. We send our deepest condolences to your family and friends.
His nationality was not disclosed.
Qatar organizers reported the first infections among their workforce on April 15, with five cases in three stadium projects.
Work continues at the 2022 sites, but has slowed down to allow measures to contain viruses, including screening and social detachment, to be observed with Qatari officials saying preparations are, however, more than 80% complete.
Organizers removed all high-risk workers from full-wage projects, conduct worker temperature checks twice a day, and imposed distance rules in cafeterias and employee transportation to limit the spread of the virus.
The construction of infrastructure to organize the tournament continued during the crisis, even when Qatar disrupted non-essential retail and closed mosques, parks and restaurants.
Qatar has initiated a cautious reopening program, with socially distant worship permitted in some mosques and non-essential trade permitted.
Cafes and restaurants are expected to reopen, subject to strict controls from 1 July.
The competition schedules, which will take place in November and December 2022, remain unchanged by the coronavirus pandemic that has already forced the postponement of the European football championships and the Tokyo Olympics.
Both will now occur in 2021.