Concerns at Newcastle over virus outbreak

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND (AP) – Newcastle reportedly closed its training facility and was carrying out mass testing for the coronavirus among its playing and backroom staff after an outbreak at the club.

The entire playing squad was asked to self-isolate on Monday, the Guardian newspaper reported yesterday, and local media said the training ground was unlikely to open until tomorrow at the earliest.

Newcastle’s next match in the Premier League is at Aston Villa on Friday.

A team must fulfil its schedule if at least 14 players are available to play, including those from the youth side, according to competition guidelines during the pandemic.

Neither Newcastle nor the Premier League have commented publicly on the situation.

Speaking on Monday after a 2-1 loss at West Ham, Villa manager Dean Smith said his team “will be preparing as normal” for the match against Newcastle at Villa Park.

There hasn’t yet been a match postponed in the Premier League because of a virus outbreak at a team.

The league said on Monday that 10 people had tested positive for COVID-19 among players and club staff in the latest round of checks. It never specifies the individuals who have
tested positive.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said after his team’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Friday that three individuals at the club were self-isolating. That number increased to five over
the weekend.

Newcastle’s head coach Steve Bruce gestures as he talks with his players at Selhurst Park Stadium, London. PHOTO: AP