Coronavirus: Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta tests positive

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Following Arsenal’s announcement on Thursday night, the Premier League has confirmed it will convene an emergency meeting with top-flight clubs on Friday morning regarding fixtures.

Arsenal were due to face Manchester City in a rearranged fixture at the Etihad on Wednesday night, only for the game to be postponed as a precautionary measure amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Arsenal announced in the early hours of Wednesday morning that a number of players and four members of staff were self-isolating after meeting Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis before the Europa League last-32, second-leg tie in north London 13 days ago on February 27.

Marinakis – who also owns Championship club Nottingham Forest and attended last Friday’s match against Millwall – announced on Tuesday that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a COBRA meeting on Thursday before addressing the nation. Johnson described the virus as the “worst public health crisis for a generation”, but confirmed that schools would not shut and major sporting events would not be cancelled.

But less than an hour on from the Premier League’s statement, Arsenal announced that head coach Arteta had received a positive Covid-19 result after deciding to take a test after “feeling poorly.”

A club statement read: “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.”

Arteta said of his diagnosis: “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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