Find out the latest on COVID-19’s impact on the sports world and when sports are returning by subscribing to Breaking News push notifications in the Sports and COVID-19 section.
Coronavirus testing for Premier League players is scheduled to begin on Thursday, and clubs were told to expect a turnover time of 24 hours for the results, according to The Telegraph’s Matt Law and Sam Wallace.
In contrast, essential workers and anyone over the age of 65 with COVID-19 symptoms in the United Kingdom are advised to wait 48-72 hours for their results through the government’s testing scheme.
The Premier League’s supplies are privately sourced via a £4-million deal with Hong Kong biotechnology firm Prenetics, so England’s top flight hasn’t been taking testing kits from its country’s general population. However, some figures within the sport are unsettled by the Premier League’s ability to be tested and acquire results before frontline workers and other key employees can.
“I don’t know the testing numbers for NHS and care workers, people who are doing these incredible jobs over the last two months,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said last week. “(But) I don’t think it would sit well, not just with me, but with anybody, if we didn’t make sure that people who are in that frontline are getting tested.”
Dr. John Ashton, the former director of public health in northwest England, expressed his own reservations to The Telegraph.
“I don’t think we should be doing this until everybody has a level playing field,” he said. “If football can get results in this amount of time, then why can’t everybody else?”
Barring any setbacks in the Premier League’s plans for the 2019-20 season’s resumption, the organization intends to set up stations for each of its 20 clubs on Thursday so independent practitioners can test players. The stations could be drive-through checks or located within the grounds of a club’s training base.
Clubs can conduct other essential testing on their players once the initial results are acquired.
“What this shows is that you can get relatively fast results for people if you have got the resources, but there is also the question of scale,” said Professor Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England. “The number of essential workers and over 65s runs into the millions, while there are far fewer Premier League footballers to test.”
Medical protocols will be discussed in greater detail when Premier League administrators and its clubs hold a video conference on Monday. It’s expected group training will begin with no more than five players and three staff members. Training-ground buildings won’t be used in the first phase of the return to action, with players arriving in kit and heading straight for the practice pitches.
The United Kingdom has identified over 210,000 cases of the coronavirus, with over 31,300 related deaths.