Coronavirus: First La Liga player tests positive for virus as Spain prepares to go into lockdown

Ezequiel Garay confirmed he has coronavirus, becoming the first player from La Liga to test positive for COVID-19 with Valencia revealing he is one of five first team players or staff with the virus.

Due to an injury, Garay was not part of the Valencia side that travelled to Milan, the epicentre of the pandemic in Europe, for the game against Atalanta on 19 February, while he also missed the return leg at the Mestalla on Tuesday.

The Valencia defender announced the news on Instagram, insisting he was feeling well and recovering in self-isolatation.

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“Clearly I’ve got off on the wrong foot in 2020. I’ve tested positive for the coronavirus, I feel great and now all that’s left is to listen to the health authorities. For the moment, I have to be isolated,” said the Argentine.

Spain is preparing to quarantine 47 million people with the entire country set to go into lockdown from Monday.

“I want to tell the workers, the self-employed, and businesses that the government of Spain is going to do everything in its power to cushion the effects of this crisis,” prime minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday in a televised address.

“From now we enter into a new phase. We won’t hesitate in doing what we must to beat the virus. We are putting health first.”

A club statement from Los Che confirmed five first team players or staff had the virus: “Valencia CF inform that five positive cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been detected amongst first team staff and players. All of these persons are now at home, in good health and obeying self-isolation measures. Besides providing further information over the coming hours, the club reiterate our support for the health authorities and their social awareness campaigns, and emphasise to all of the population the importance of staying at home and continuing to follow the previously published hygiene and illness-prevention measures.

“Likewise, Valencia CF reiterate our confidence in the Spanish health system, and in the recommendations made by the Ministry of Health for cases of coronavirus infection such as these.

“We remind you that the telephone number for matters regarding coronavirus in the Valencia region is 900300555. We trust that, with solidarity, responsibility and good morale, we will beat this pandemic. Amunt Valencia.”

All football matches in Spain’s top division, LaLiga, have been suspended for “at least” two weeks over fears of the spread of the coronavirus.

The league announced on Thursday that the decision came after Real Madrid put its squad into quarantine, and that it had notified the clubs, the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) and the national sports ministry of the postponements.

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Real’s move to put its football team into quarantine came after it emerged a basketball player for the club had tested positive for the virus, with the two squads sharing training facilities.

LaLiga will revisit the decision after the next two matchdays have passed, currently scheduled for 13-15 March and 20-22 March, after which tie domestic action is scheduled to stop anyway for an international break.


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