Exclusive: Fears grow of mass infection at Newcastle United as another two players test positive for Covid-19

Luke Edwards
·2-min read
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce looks concerned - TOM JENKINS
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce looks concerned - TOM JENKINS

Newcastle United have received another two positive Covid tests and are now waiting nervously to learn whether they have suffered a mass infection within the first-team squad.

The two new cases identified take the total number at the club to five and there are growing concerns more will follow over the next 48 hours.

Given the nature of the pandemic, and the fact the new cases have come after two players and a member of staff were forced to self-isolate last week, it means the virus may well have still been on hard surfaces at the training ground.

That cannot be known for sure, given the players spend so much time together and the incubation period of the virus, but if Covid was still present within a closed indoor environment, the scale of the spread could be severe, leading to the decimation of the squad ahead of the next round of Premier League fixtures.

Having lost two players and a member of the backroom team to the virus before the 2-0 away win at Crystal Palace last weekend, Telegraph Sport discovered another two players have returned positive tests over the weekend.

Both of those who have tested positive were in contact with the squad before they travelled down to London on Thursday which has heightened fears things could get even worse.

As a result, Newcastle have cancelled all training ground activity and will now retest everyone who has been at their Benton base, both staff and players, before manager Steve Bruce is allowed to start preparing the team for the trip to Aston Villa next weekend.

Sources have indicated that, despite the fact all precautions and protocols have been followed, there is a risk the virus will force more players to self-isolate and therefore miss the Villa game.

The club have begun a mass testing operation and are awaiting the results of those tests before deciding on their next move.

Newcastle were without Andy Carroll, Emil Krafth, Allan Saint-Maximin, Isaac Hayden and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka at Selhurst Park, although it has not been revealed which of those absences were Covid-related. The identity of the staff member also remains confidential.