The EFL is set to confirm the positive coronavirus cases – if any – after spending two days of tests on Championship clubs.
Stoke City players, coaches and backroom staff – as at all clubs in the division – have been required to have a test for COVID-19 before training starts in small groups on Monday. Tests will continue on a twice-weekly basis.
A plan of action is in place for different scenarios – and a negative test and absence of symptoms is required to gain clearance to attend the training ground.
The EFL is expecting the first collection of data to be available on Sunday and will announce the number of tests taken and their results.
The information will be anonymous and no individual club data will be released.
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A statement from the EFL said: “The health, wellbeing and safety of EFL players, managers and staff has been at the forefront of the league’s discussions, scenario planning and decision making throughout this process and we will continue to consult with medical experts to ensure this is maintained as circumstances evolve.”
Anyone returning a positive result who has symptoms will be told to isolate for seven days and will not be allowed to attend the training ground, although anyone who is symptomatic has been told to self-isolate even before a test.
Anyone returning a positive result but is asymptomatic will also be told to isolate for seven days and will not be allowed to attend the training ground.
They will be re-tested after seven and 10 days and will only be allowed to return to training if two negative results are produced. If all tests come back positive, they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Anyone who tests negative but has symptoms will also be told to isolate for seven days before being re-tested. They will not be allowed at the training ground in that period.
Medical staff will be carrying out daily questionnaires.
They will check every coach, player or member of staff for to check if they are reporting:
- New cough
- Fever/Temperature above 37.6C
- Unusually short of breath during exercise or at rest
- Loss of smell
- Loss of taste
- Red eyes or sticky eyes
- New abdominal pain or diarrhoea
- New blocked or runny nose
- New unusual fatigue with muscle and joint pains
- Feeling generally unwell in any other way
Clubs will need to return to full contact training before matches resume, with hope that the Premier League and Championship could host games behind closed doors next month.
A 45-page protocol for the return from the EFL states: “Clubs will only be permitted to make a phased return to first team training when it is safe to do so, based on medical and scientific advice, and in accordance with Government instructions.”