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Former Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill tests positive for Covid-19

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Former Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

Former Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

PA

Former Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

Former Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has tested positive for Covid-19, Stoke City has confirmed.

A club spokesperson said: "O'Neill had tested negative in the previous five rounds of testing.

"He will now follow the relevant guidance and undergo a period of isolation, whilst continuing to be in regular virtual contact with his coaching staff and players.

"Assistant manager Billy McKinlay will take charge of training as the Potters prepare for their game against Reading on June 20.

The club will be making no further comment on this matter."

Manchester United were forced to call off a planned friendly against Stoke at short notice on Tuesday.

According to reports, the game was cancelled due to concerns over the condition of a Stoke player after the Potters arrived at United's training ground. There were no issues with any members of the United squad.

Stoke's players had not interacted with anybody from United prior to the decision being made, having travelled to a separate area of the Carrington complex.

O'Neill was a highly successful Northern Ireland manager, managing the team in Euro 2016.

He quit the role in April.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann has warned that a second coronavirus lockdown is not out of the question, despite three consecutive days with no deaths from the virus.

Speaking at the Executive's daily briefing he said that it could be avoided if the necessary steps are taken.

"If we tread carefully and we come out of the lockdown slow enough, managed enough, to make sure that the virus is being managed in its spread. If there is a second wave it may not be as critical as the one we saw at the start," Mr Swann said.

"If we get to a point where our health service is being threatened, if we assess we don't have the number of ICU beds in the current system to manage a potential second wave, then our only option is to go back into a second lockdown."

Belfast Telegraph