Four more people from three Premier League clubs have tested positive for coronavirus after the third round of testing.
There were 1,008 tests carried out on Monday and Tuesday – and a fourth round will take place on Thursday and Friday, with up to 60 people from each club to be tested.
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It is not yet known whether the four new positive tests are players, non-playing staff, or a combination of both – or whether any of the positives are from people who tested positive in the first round and who have returned after self-isolating for seven days.
A statement read: “The Premier League can today confirm that on Monday 25 May and Tuesday 26 May, 1,008 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19.
“Of these, four have tested positive from three clubs.
“Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.
“Previously, between 19-22 May, 996 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19, of which two tested positive from two clubs.
“Some 748 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19 on 17-18 May, with six testing positive from three clubs.
“For the fourth round of testing, the number of tests available to each club will be increased from 50 to 60.”
COVID-19 impact on football
March 5 – Pre-match handshakes banned in the Premier League.
March 11 – Man City v Arsenal is first Premier League game suspended; Liverpool v Atletico Madrid the last top level game played in England.
March 12 – Man Utd, Wolves play away Europa League ties behind closed doors, Rangers host Bayer Leverkusen in front of fans.
March 13 – Football suspended following an emergency meeting between PL, FA, EFL and WSL
April 15 – SPFL clubs approve plan to end the Scottish Championship, League One and league Two seasons.
May 15 – League Two clubs vote to end the season with immediate effect.
May 17 – Premier League players and staff tested for COVID-19.
May 18 – Scottish Premiership curtailed, with points per game determining league positions and Celtic named champions.
May 19 – Premier League clubs return to socially distanced group training.
May 25 – Women’s Super League cancelled, with title and relegation to be determined.
May 27 –Premier League clubs vote to resume contact training.
The next set of testing will be the first to be conducted when at least some of the Premier League clubs have resumed contact training, which was unanimously approved on Wednesday.
No matches have been played in the Premier League since March, but the government has given the go-ahead for elite sport to resume from June 1.
And the return of contact training is seen as a major step towards a possible resumption of the Premier League next month.
Clubs will meet again on Thursday to discuss the broader details of how what has been dubbed Project Restart might take shape – including contingency talks on how curtailment of the season would look, if it is not deemed safe to resume.
Premier League clubs approve contact training
Premier League clubs voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a return to contact training, in another significant step towards the resumption of matches “when safe to do so”.
The significance of contact training is that it’s the single biggest step towards the resumption of matches.
Throughout the pandemic there have been concerns raised about the risks associated with training and what it takes for coronavirus to be transmitted on the pitch.
If there is no spike in positive tests, with fewer negative results over more tests, it will give the authorities, and clubs, the confidence that it will be safe to resume competitive games next month.
If everything goes to plan with contact training, a third vote, on a specific date, is expected in due course.
Read more here about the return of contact training and what it means for the Premier League season
Contingency plans to be discussed on Thursday
Thursday is another important day for the Premier League. That is when all other aspects of Project Restart will be discussed, including the league’s contingency plans on relegation, the issue of the use of points-per-game, and the award of the Premier League title, if the season has to be curtailed.
Analysis: 12 positive tests but 12 different people?
Analysis by Bryan Swanson, Chief Reporter, Sky Sports News
“Four positive results out of just over 1,000 tests in the third round of testing only tells us half a story.
“There have been 12 positive results since testing has been published this month.
“But we don’t yet know whether these new results include any of the six people who tested positive in the first round and have since returned from seven days in self-isolation.
“The figure is still relatively low so will provide further cautious optimism for the Premier League, only hours after the significant decision was made to resume contact training.
The figure is still relatively low so will provide further cautious optimism for the Premier League, only hours after the significant decision was made to resume contact training.
Bryan Swanson, Chief Reporter, Sky Sports News
“These latest results again demonstrate that coronavirus is not widespread in all 20 clubs at the moment, at least not among an average of 50 people tested per club in the third round.
“Crucially, there has been no cluster of positive results in one club.
“The fact there are four positive tests must be taken seriously and those individuals must self-isolate for seven days before they take a further COVID-19 test.
“They cannot attend the training ground and three clubs will want to establish what contact those individuals had with other people, in particular in the same household.
“In theory, they should have not have come into close contact with anyone outside their household since March, under the government’s social distancing rules.
“It is important to highlight there have been 2,740 negative results in the first three rounds, around 99.5 per cent.
“Up to 60 people from each club will now be tested from the next round, twice a week, in line with an agreement to resume contact training.
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