After more than three months of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier League is finally making a comeback for the fans of the English top flight football, after the UK Government gave the green light. The 2019-20 season was officially confirmed to resume from 17th June, with 9 matchdays left to be played, in a behind closed doors format. To successfully restart the season PL has termed the mission as ‘Project Restart’, under which they have been constantly testing the players and club staffs, in addition to many other sanitary and safety regulations in action.
Till date, Premier League has performed a total of nine rounds of testing. The first round of test was conducted on 17-18 May, where a total of 748 players and staffs were tested, and six positive cases were detected from three clubs. As of today, 8,687 tests have been conducted, and 16 were tested positive. What is the procedure after a player from any PL side is confirmed positive of novel Coronavirus? Let’s find out below.
To ensure its Project Restart plan, Premier League invested in a £4 million deal with the Hong Kong-based biotechnology company Prenetics for a total of 40,000 Coronavirus testing kits.
80 kits are provided to each club per week, to test 40 players and staffs twice under seven days. Tests are done at drive through testing stations, and the swab samples collected from the back of nose and throat are sent for testing to The Doctors Laboratory, and results are delivered under two days.
In case of a player or staff tests positive and bears the symptoms, they are to self isolate for for a week. After seven days, they are tested again. In case a person shows symptoms but tests negative, they still follow the same procedure of a second testing session after a week.
“If a player tests positive, it’s only him and his family who need to isolate, not anybody else This will need to be looked at again when contact training resumes, however,” said Dr Mark Gillett, Premier League’s medical advisor.
However in case of a positive result, PL has impassive on putting the whole squad of a club in a quarantine period of 14 days. Only the positive player or staff is quarantined away.
“With regards to our back-to-training protocols, if a player tests positive, providing that player has been been socially distanced as anticipated in these protocols, that player would be isolated for a period but there would be no need for the rest of the group to be, because they’ve been socially distanced.” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters had said earlier.
While its not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines as players have resumed contact training, the players are taking proper medical guidance during their training drills.
“It does depend on what sort of contact because obviously you’re trying to ensure the players keep themselves safe even during that contact training situation and that will have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis,” Masters added.
Other than testing 40 individuals twice each week, all PL clubs also do regular temperature checks of their players and staffs, in addition to daily medical surveys.
Premier League returned on Wednesday with a goalless draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United. Manchester United drew 1-all in their face off against Spurs atTottenham Hotspur Stadium today. Liverpool is leading the league table with 82 points, followed by Manchester City in second with 60 points.