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12 Mar, 2020 22:28

Arsenal manager Arteta tests positive for Covid-19, forcing football team into self-isolation

Arsenal manager Arteta tests positive for Covid-19, forcing football team into self-isolation

The manager of the UK’s Arsenal Football Club Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, prompting the team to "deep clean" its training center in Hertfordshire while its key players undergo self-quarantine.

“Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with government health guidelines,” the club said in a statement on Thursday, noting that this would include its “full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy,” which has been temporarily shut down as a precaution.

Both the academy and the team’s training center in Hertfordshire will be given a “deep clean,” the club added, though other club sites will continue to operate as normal.

The team sought to assure fans earlier this week that none of its athletes or staff had contracted the illness after the owner of Greece’s Olympiacos – the Gunners’ recent opponents – revealed that he tested positive. It remains unclear who may have passed the virus to Arteta, however.

The manager’s diagnosis was announced less than an hour after the English Premier League said that all matches would go ahead as scheduled, however the league has since retracted the statement, stating an “emergency club meeting” would be held on Friday morning to determine how to proceed with future games.

Whether or not the league decides to put the season on hold, as a number of sporting organizations have done worldwide amid the coronavirus outbreak, Arsenal said some of its matches would have to be cancelled.

“It is clear we will not be able to play some fixtures on their currently scheduled dates,” the team said, adding that those who have already purchased tickets for upcoming games would be updated with more information “as soon as possible.”

The club will now work to trace any others who may have had contact with Arteta, and said it would coordinate with health officials on the next steps to take for its facilities and staff.

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