The mayor of Mohamed Salah’s hometown has denied the Liverpool striker broke coronavirus social distancing guidelines while celebrating his brother’s wedding, despite video evidence to the contrary.
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Friday that the Reds star had tested positive for Covid-19, despite initial confusion over his test result.
Their initial statement was deleted, though a further statement on Friday evening confirmed that a second swab from Salah had also come back positive.
The EFA say the 28-year-old is well and not showing any symptoms but must now enter a period of self-isolation, ruling him out of their their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations double header against Togo.
It also puts his availability for Liverpool’s first match after the international break against Leicester on November 22 in doubt, adding to the Reds' mounting list of absentees.
Footage has emerged showing Salah celebrating at his brother’s wedding in Cairo earlier this week, with no social distancing or protection such as face masks in place.
Like most of the world, Egypt has imposed restrictions to try and limit the spread of Covid-19, including social distancing guidelines and the mandatory wearing of masks in enclosed public spaces.
Salah’s hometown of Nagrig is around 131 kilometres from where the wedding took place in Cairo, but that has not stopped its mayor, Maher Shtayyeh, from defending his city's favourite son, particularly over allegations he was hugging fellow guests without wearing a mask.
"All what has been said is false, it does not make sense to hug someone five times in the same wedding,” Shtayyeh told Goal.
“Also Salah was extremely cautious during the one-hour wedding, he never took his mask off except for taking photographs.
“Salah is fine now, he does not show any symptoms, I talked to his father and uncle.
“Trezeguet was the only [other Egypt] player who came to the wedding with Salah, he was also extremely cautious”.