German soccer player Joshua Kimmich won't be joining his Bayern Munich teammates on the pitch for the rest of 2021, as he continues to recover from health issues caused by contracting COVID-19.
Bayern Munich announced the move in a statement on Thursday, saying the club will play their remaining three matches of the year without the midfielder. Kimmich sparked controversy in the sporting world and beyond after revealing that he wasn't vaccinated against the coronavirus and was reluctant to do so.
Kimmich has been in quarantine for nearly a month after he first came in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and then later contracted COVID-19 himself.
The 26-year-old has now tested negative for the virus, but he is still grappling with lingering health effects caused by the infection.
"I'm happy my self-isolation caused by the coronavirus has ended. I'm doing very well, but I'm not yet able to train fully due to slight infiltrations in my lungs," Kimmich said in a statement. "I'll therefore do some rehabilitative training and can't wait to be fully back in action in January."
The term "slight infiltrations" in the lungs indicates that the virus has affected the bronchial tubes or alveoli — where the lungs exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, intensive care physician Christian Karagiannidis told news agency dpa.
The announcement means he will not play in Bayern Munich's home game against Mainz on Saturday.
In October, Kimmich admitted that he was not vaccinated against COVID-19, citing his concerns about long-term side effects. Experts have emphasized that such concerns are entirely unfounded, adding that contracting the virus can be lethal to people of all ages and fitness levels.
rs/sms (dpa, SID)