Mikel Arteta, Arsenal Coach Tested Positive For Coronavirus
Arsenal have confirmed that head coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus.
Arsenal were due to face Manchester City in a rearranged Premier League 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.
Following that advice, both the EFL and the Premier League announced on Thursday evening that this weekend’s fixtures would go ahead as planned.
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.”
The 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.”
Arsenal’s 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.”