The Premier League officially suspended the season until April 3 following a coronavirus outbreak at both Chelsea and Arsenal which saw both teams from the first team and nearly 100 staff members put in solitary confinement.
The games had gone on this weekend, as usual, in line with UK government advice, with fans still allowed to enter the stadium despite La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 having all closed this week.
However, shortly after the statement confirming that the games would go on, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was diagnosed with coronavirus, pushing the Premier League into a sharp U-turn and calling an emergency emergency meeting with all 20 the clubs.
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Chelsea later confirmed that their midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi had become the first Premier League player to test the virus positively and that the entire team of the first team had also been immediately isolated.
Now the Premier League has finally got underway with all the top flight matches postponed to April 3 with a further announcement regarding the rest of the season to come in due course.
“In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, the government, the FA and the EFL and we can all reassure you of the health and well-being of the players, staff and fans.”
Many Premier League clubs had put pressure on referees to postpone games long before Arteta’s positive test, but their requests had been postponed until late Thursday evening (UK time).
Today, Leicester City confirmed that three of their players had symptoms similar to coronavirus but had not yet tested positive for the virus.
“We had some players who showed symptoms and (coronavirus) signs. We followed the procedures and (as a precaution) were kept away from the team,” said manager Brendan Rodgers.
“We have isolated them by ourselves and we will see how it will develop in the next two days.
“It’s about health, that’s more than football. It’s about the players and their families, so any risk there is to their health and everyone else, we have to mitigate it.
“The game focuses on players and fans. If you have one not present, obviously it is not the same. “
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Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy also self-isolated as a precaution after one of his family members fell ill and was consequently tested for COVID-19.
A City spokesman said: “The club is aware that a family member of an older man’s team player is in the hospital with symptoms of respiratory disease.
“He has undergone hospital tests, one of which is for COVID-19. Until the results are known, the player in question will self-isolate himself as a precaution. “