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Premier League announces six positive COVID-19 tests ahead of training restart

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The league announced six positives from three clubs out of 784 players and staff tested.

The Premier League Logo with a Protective Face Mask Photo by Visionhaus

On Monday, Premier League clubs unanimously voted for and was approved to resume training as the coronavirus pandemic continues across the globe. Today, the league released the results of comprehensive coronavirus testing across all 20 clubs.

In a statement released on the Premier League’s website, the league announced that, out of 748 tests conducted of Premier League players and staff, there were six positive test results from three different clubs. Those who tested positive will now go into self-isolation for a week.

Here is the full release.

The Premier League can today confirm that, on Sunday 17 May and Monday 18 May, 748 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19.

Of these, six have tested positive from three clubs.

Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.

The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and oversight.

No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the Premier League due to legal and operational requirements.

Seven days of self-isolation feels like a pretty short period of time, especially when guidelines up to this point have required isolation for fourteen days. Admittedly there’s a lot of crucial information missing from this release — we don’t know the extent of the contact tracing conducted on behalf of these positive people, or even if there has been any at all! We don’t know which clubs had positive test results and whether there is any geographical commonalities in these results. We don’t know if there has been more than one round of testing for these players and staff.

On the positive side, the odds that people who have tested positive for coronavirus have been able to spread it to others on the team are pretty low, considering they’ve all been self-isolated since March and clubs have not yet trained closely together. Isolating positives and re-testing them in a week isn’t the craziest idea, especially to rule out any false positive results. And positives coming out now before contact drills and full training kicks off is probably a good thing, as it reduces the possibility of community spread during matches and training.

There’s still a ton of stuff we don’t know about this virus and how it could transmit between professional athletes. But if the Premier League is still hell-bent on resuming matches behind closed doors in June (and it certainly seems as though they are), this seems like a decent approach. When players start actually coming in contact with each other — that’s when the rubber REALLY hits the road.