Clubs hit by Covid-19 spike after holidays
Premier League reports 14 cases on return to training Southampton player among those testing positive at 12 sides
There has been a spike in positive coronavirus tests since Premier League players returned to training last weekend, with 14 cases recorded at 12 clubs.
It emerged last night that one of the cases is at Southampton, where a first-team player has tested positive for Covid-19 following his return from a summer holiday.
The figures are unofficial – the Premier League is expected to continue regularly publishing test results only until the season resumes on Sept 12 – but have raised concerns among the clubs.
A particular worry is whether players from different clubs have been mixing together on holiday – it appears some have been sharing and visiting each other’s villas – with many having flocked to southern Europe during their time off. It could lead to more positive tests.
Most clubs have resumed training this week, with testing taking place from last Saturday.
The number of cases – it is unclear how many are players but they are understood to be among those who have tested positive – is disproportionately high. It is also understood that not all cases have been asymptomatic.
To put it in context, the Premier League recorded only 30 positive cases from around 35,000 tests carried out between when football resumed and the end of the season, as the players and staff followed the strict guidelines.
It has already been revealed that a member of Liverpool’s travelling party to their pre-season training camp in Austria tested positive. The club have not said whether the affected person is a player because of medical confidentiality.
All members of Liverpool’s group were tested before travelling and again on their arrival. Testing has been continuing throughout the camp and no one trained without first recording two negative tests.
The Southampton player, whom
The Daily Telegraph is choosing not to name, was asymptomatic upon arrival in the UK but a test showed he had coronavirus. Southampton have not commented. It is understood players will have their first club testing session of pre-season today.
As with the other positive cases the protocols dictate that the person has to self-isolate for at least seven days.
Liverpool shifted their camp from France to Austria after travel restrictions were put in place, while some clubs, such as Leicester City, have decided they will carry out all their preparations at home.
All Premier League clubs will be tested in the next few days, and as there are still more than three weeks before the season resumes the positive tests are not expected to disrupt preparations for the campaign, which will begin behind closed doors. However it is a warning to the players and staff that they have to be careful and will continue with the strict protocols that were in place for the end of last season.
The Premier League is expected to test players once a week when the season is under way – rather than twice a week as last season – and still use a system of clinical passports to show they are clear.
There was always an acceptance that with players and staff going on holiday after the end of the prolonged campaign there could be an increase in the number of cases. An added complication was the need to rush back from France before travellers would have to quarantine for 14 days on their return.