Positive start to Premier League testing, but Watford and Deeney in limbo

May 20 – In what will be regarded as a boost for what has been dubbed ‘Project Restart’, the English Premier League says just six positive results have come back from 748 coronavirus tests carried out in its first wave of mass testing.

Officials hope the relatively low rate will help persuade players of a safe environment in which to return to work.

However three of the positives tests are reportedly at the same club, relegation-threatened Watford, including a player and two members of staff with the possibility that team-mates of club captain Troy Deeney might now take the same view as him and refuse to return to training.

Premier League bosses are understood to believe the number of positives is what would be expected with strict protocols introduced ahead of a projected mid-June restart behind closed doors.

This week  players were allowed to train in “small group” sessions, with a possible return to normal training next week.  Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate for seven days and cannot attend the club training ground.

The positives ratio is roughly in line with Germany where the Bundesliga returned to action last weekend. There were 10 positives from 1,748 tests across the top two divisions ahead of matches being played.

The second wave of Premier League checks is being published on Saturday in the hope that contact training can resume next week. Right now, a maximum of five players can work together for up to 75 minutes.

Approval for fixtures resuming are 100% reliant on there being no new spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, which has the world’s second highest number of corona-related deaths after the United States.

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