The situation at Arsenal as Arteta’s positive coronavirus test leads to lockdown
PUBLISHED: 12:20 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:20 13 March 2020
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Arsenal are in lockdown following Mikel Arteta’s positive coronavirus test on Thursday night. Islington Gazette Arsenal reporter Dan Mountney has the latest update on the situation at the club.
After Arteta's positive test yesterday evening and the club's announcement late last night, more than 100 members of staff who have come into close contact with the Spaniard have gone into the 14-day isolation period according to the Government guidelines.
This includes the full first-team squad and coaching staff, with the club's London Colney training ground also closing for at least the next fortnight.
The squad's last contact with Arteta came on Tuesday as they were given Wednesday off, meaning their 14-day self-isolation period ends on March 24, although this could be extended if others within the club show symptoms or test positive.
Arteta and Arsenal's week had been going as normal, with a press conference on Monday and training on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's Premier League game against Manchester City.
The situation then quickly escalated as the fixture at the Etihad was postponed late on Tuesday night following the announcement that Olympiacos owner, Evangelos Marinakis had tested positive for Covid-19 and met Arsenal players and staff following a Europa League fixture on February 27.
Arteta, however, is understood to have not come into contact with Marinakis and no one from the club who did showed any symptoms of coronavirus.
The 37-year-old started to feel unwell on Wednesday and then tested positive 24 hours later.
The club's London Colney training ground will now undergo a deep clean, as will Arsenal's Hale End Academy after the site closed and small number of staff went into self-isolation.
Following the announcement that the Premier League, FA and EFL have suspended games until at least April 3, Arsenal's U23 game against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend has also been called off.
Arsenal's Women's team has also been hit with FA Women's Super League games also suspended until early April, while January signing Caitlin Foord is in 14-day quarantine after playing for Australia against Vietnam in Cam Pha on Wednesday.
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'Caitlin Foord's had her correspondence from Arsenal, so she'll be in quarantine for 14 days,' said Matildas boss Ante Milicic.
The women's side also train at London Colney, but it is unclear if any of their squad or staff are among the more than 100 who are currently self-isolating. The Islington Gazette has contact the club for comment.
Arsenal's statement on Mikel Arteta's positive coronavirus test in full
Our London Colney training centre has been closed after head coach Mikel Arteta received a positive COVID-19 result this evening.
Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy which we have also temporarily closed as a precaution.
We expect those who did not have close contact with Mikel to return to work in the coming days. In the meantime our Colney and Hale End training centres will undergo a deep clean and our other club sites are operating as normal.
Managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: 'The health of our people and the wider public is our priority and that is where our focus is. Our thoughts are with Mikel who is disappointed but in good spirits. We are in active dialogue with all the relevant people to manage this situation appropriately, and we look forward to getting back to training and playing as soon as medical advice allows.'
Head of football Raul Sanllehi added: 'Mikel and the full first-team squad, players and staff, will be fully supported, and we look forward to getting back to training and playing as soon as medical advice allows. Obviously Mikel's full recovery is the priority now for us all.'
We will work with Public Health England on the next steps in regard to our facilities and staff, and with the Premier League, Football Association and relevant clubs around our forthcoming matches in the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup.
It is clear we will not be able to play some fixtures on their currently scheduled dates. We will update supporters who have tickets for forthcoming games with more information as soon as possible.
We are now working to trace any other people who have had recent close contact with Mikel. We will let them know what has happened and they should follow the NHS guidance which is likely to recommend self-isolation.
Mikel said: 'This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I'm allowed.'
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