Coronavirus: Footballer diagnosed after match in Northern Ireland

Both teams taking precautions as number of cases in NI rises to seven

A nurse during a demonstration of the Coronavirus pod and COVID-19 virus testing procedures set-up beside  Antrim Area Hospital, Co Antrim in Northern Ireland. File Photograph: Michael Cooper/PA Wire

A nurse during a demonstration of the Coronavirus pod and COVID-19 virus testing procedures set-up beside Antrim Area Hospital, Co Antrim in Northern Ireland. File Photograph: Michael Cooper/PA Wire

 

Two football teams in Northern Ireland have been told to take precautionary measures after a player tested positive for coronavirus after a match.

In a statement, Hanover Football Club in Co Armagh confirmed that one of its players was diagnosed with Covid-19 after Saturday’s game. The footballer was one of three people to have contracted coronavirus as confirmed by health officials on Saturday evening.

The latest three cases are all adults who had recently travelled from Italy and are linked to a previously confirmed positive case. It takes the total number of coronavirus cases in the region to seven.

The Portadown club said they were only made aware of the player’s positive test following their game against Co Tyrone club Coagh United reserves. In a statement they said that, immediately after the confirmation, the club contacted all Hanover FC players as well as Coagh United and those involved in the Mid Ulster Football League.

“(We are) liaising with the NHS via their helpline for advice which has now been passed on to all in question,” the statement added. “We also immediately cancelled a planned function and have arranged for a deep clean to be performed by qualified contractors. “Again we wish to stress that this was something we had no prior knowledge (of) but, following swift actions upon discovery, we hope that this will help ensuring all those in direct contact with the person in questions remains unaffected.”

Upper Bann DUP MP Carla Lockhart said: “My thoughts are with the player who has contracted this virus and I wish him a speedy recovery and return to full health again. “Hanover FC are to be commended for their swift actions and openness on this sensitive matter.”

The North’s Public Health Agency said “staff are working quickly to identify contacts the individuals may have had, with the objective of preventing further spread of the virus”.

“Further positive tests have been expected and the advice to the public remains unchanged. Northern Ireland is still in the containment phase,” added the department.

The department said that in line “with established protocols, presumptive positive Northern Ireland test results are sent to Public Health England laboratories for verification”. – Additional reporting from PA