Newcastle United players and staff will be retested this week and the Magpies are working to ‘identify the source’ of the club’s COVID-19 outbreak after Friday night’s game against Aston Villa was called off.
The Premier League have approved Newcastle’s request for the game to be postponed after the Magpies were unable to train at the club’s training ground because of coronavirus.
Newcastle’s training facility has been temporarily closed after a number of players and staff members contracted the virus. As a result, Steve Bruce’s side have been unable to prepare for the trip to Villa Park together.
Bruce confirmed last week that three individuals, including a first-teamer who would have played at Crystal Palace last time out, were self-isolating.
That number rose to five over the weekend and it has increased further in recent days hence why Newcastle asked for the game to be postponed.
Newcastle are not naming any of the individuals who have contracted the virus and have asked ‘that their privacy is respected’ as the black-and-whites look to make the training ground secure and keep the number of cases down.
‘Newcastle United was one of the first clubs in the country to close its training ground prior to the first national lockdown in March and the club introduced comprehensive Covid-19 protocols in line with Premier League and government guidance to protect its players and staff ahead of Project Restart,’ a section of the club’s statement read.
‘While the club has continued to ensure strict adherence to these protocols, and despite previously experiencing only a very small number of isolated Covid-19 cases, positive test results have risen sharply in recent days.
‘The club is now working with Public Health England North East (PHE) and the Premier League in line with COVID-19 protocols to identify the source of the outbreak and to ensure the risk of further transmission continues to be minimised,’ a section of a club statement read.
‘All players and training ground staff will be re-tested this week and a meeting between the club, Premier League and PHE will take place to assess the test results.’
Newcastle were keen to thank Aston Villa for their ‘understanding’ and the game will now be rescheduled and a new date and time confirmed in due course.
This is the first time coronavirus has been the cause of a top-flight fixture postponement since football restarted behind closed doors last summer.