Chelsea have revealed that their Ghanaian winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has tested positive for Coronavirus and as a result all senior players and the coaching staff led by Frank Lampard have all self-isolated.
The England international, who was born in London to Ghanaian parents, is the first player with any connection to Ghana to have infected with the deadly disease that has claimed the lives of hundreds of people globally.
Hudson-Odoi, who is the son of former Hearts of Oak players Bismark Odoi, is the latest football figure to test positive for the virus that has caused sporting event cancellations and suspensions across the globe.
He displayed symptoms similar to a mild cold on Monday morning and was asked to stay away from training before test confirmed on Friday that he has tested positive.
“Chelsea men’s team player Callum Hudson-Odoi had a positive test result for Coronavirus returned this evening. Chelsea personnel who had recent close contact with the player in the men’s team building will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines,” Chelsea said in a statement on Friday morning.
“These will include initially the full men’s team squad, coaching staff and a number of backroom staff.
“It is expected that those who did not have close contact with Callum will return to work in the coming days.
“In the meantime, the men’s team building, one of several separate buildings at our training ground, will remain closed. The rest of our training facility, Stamford Bridge and our other facilities are operating as normal.
“Callum displayed symptoms similar to a mild cold on Monday morning and has not been at the training ground since then as a precaution.
“However, his test came in positive this evening and he will undergo a period of self-isolation. Despite testing positive for the virus, Callum is doing well and looking forward to returning to the training ground as soon as it is possible.
“We will continue to adhere to Government and Public Health Guidelines with regard to our facilities and staff and will be discussing next steps with regards to upcoming fixtures with the Premier League on Friday morning. We will provide further updates as necessary via the club’s website.
“We wish Callum a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him back to the club soon.”
The Blues were set to face Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday March 14 but given that the UK government guidelines recommend a 14-day period of isolation it is unlikely that the game will go ahead.
An emergency meeting to discuss the Premier League’s reaction to Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is set to take place on the morning of March 13.
Hudson-Odoi’s own diagnosis, and the self-isolation of the Chelsea first team squad and their coaches will now also be a key talking point as the league considers how to respond.
Pressure has been growing on the English football authorities to consider taking games behind closed doors and banning fans from stadiums or even suspending the competition.
More than 50 members of staff have self-isolated at Arsenal following the confirmation that Arteta has contracted coronavirus while three Leicester City players have also taken similar precautions.
Benjamin Mendy is also understood to be in self-isolation after a family member of the Manchester City defender was taken ill with coronavirus.
COVID-19 is a new strain of the coronavirus that has surged around the world in recent months.
The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory diseases. Flu is caused by a different virus. There is no vaccine for coronavirus, though researchers are working on one and hope to begin testing soon.
Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung disease, are most at risk. The coronavirus spreads mainly through coughs and sneezes, though it also can be transferred from surfaces.
The best way to prevent infection is by frequent hand-washing, cleaning surfaces with regular household sprays and wipes, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.