THREE Nigerian footballers plying their trade in the English Premier League have been placed in isolation because of the spread of the dreaded coronavirus within their clubs in a development that has led to the suspension of all matches until April.
With the number of cases growing by the day, the English Premier League has suspended all matches until the end of the month. At Everton, Alex Iwobi and his team mates have been placed in self-isolation, while at Leicester City, three of their players have been affected, forcing the club to quarantine its entire squad including Super Eagles due Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Faced with the threat of the virus spreading further, the English Premier League met today and decided to suspend all of its matches until April subject to medical advice and conditions. So far, other leagues, like the English Championship are yet to suspend their matches, so the likes of Semi Ajayi and Leon Balogun are likely to feature for their clubs this weekend.
At Arsenal, their manager Mikel Arteta has also been diagnosed as positive, as has Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. Everton said three of its players have been affected with the virus but the club is yet to three individuals.
An Everton spokesman said: “Everton Football Club can confirm that, as a precautionary measure, its entire first-team squad and coaching staff are undertaking a period of self-isolation following medical advice. The step has been taken after a first-team player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus.
Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, added: “Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by Covid-19. In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, the government, the FA and English Football League and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority.”
Coronavirus has led to 5,000 deaths worldwide and has affected 135,000 people in 100 countries, forcing the World Health Organisation to declare it a global pandemic. If the disease keeps spreading, several major sporting events may have to be called off, including the Olympics and European Nations Championship.