West Ham, who Arsenal played at the weekend, announced that manager David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen have tested positive for COVID-19. Upon receiving the news, all three immediately left London Stadium, where they were preparing for a Carabao Cup match against Hull City. All three are currently asymptomatic. Diop played the full 90 minutes against the Gunners, and obviously David Moyes was on the sidelines the whole time. Cullen was not in the matchday squad.
Arsenal have said, that at least as of right now, the positive tests “won’t change anything in how they are operating,” according to beat reporter Charles Watts. Players are tested regularly, and there are protocols in place to prevent a large-scale outbreak. Tomorrow’s match against Leicester will continue as scheduled.
UPDATE, 4:30 PM: David Ornstein reports that the entire Arsenal squad were tested on Monday as they normally would be (before the West Ham news broke) and that all the tests came back negative on Tuesday.
Arsenal say the news from West Ham tonight won’t change anything in terms of how they are operating. The bubble in place around the squad is designed to protect as best as it can from this type of situation. So everything carries on as normal for now.— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) September 22, 2020
It was extremely likely that, at some point this season, a Premier League team was going to have a cluster of positive coronavirus tests. Cases are on the rise again in England (and across Europe). Yesterday, September 21st, there were nearly 4,300 new cases reported. For reference, there were just 352 reported on July 7th. The most new cases reported in a day was 6,201 on May 1st.
I guess we’re now going to find out how effective, strong, and well-observed the protocols the Premier League and the clubs have in place to combat and control the spread actually are. Hopefully, the frequent testing, social distancing, and quarantine/isolation protocols stop these three cases from blossoming into a larger cluster and a serious problem.
Obviously, our best wishes go out to David Moyes, Issa Diop, and Josh Cullen, and we have our fingers crossed that nobody else at West Ham and nobody at Arsenal catch COVID-19.