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Coronavirus: Premier League announce three-week fixture suspension as seven clubs go into self-isolation

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The Premier League is set for a two-week suspension (John Walton/PA)

The Premier League is set for a two-week suspension (John Walton/PA)

The Premier League is set for a two-week suspension (John Walton/PA)

The Premier League have announced a suspension of fixtures until April 4 due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus in the UK.

League officials had confirmed on Thursday that games would continue as scheduled on government advice, however the rapidly escalating situation has seen things change overnight.

The news comes after seven top flight clubs - Arsenal, Bournemouth, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester, Manchester City and Watford - all reported that players or staff were self-isolating due to exhibiting coronavirus-like symptoms.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was the first to confirm he had contracted the virus on Thursday night, followed by Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, while Manchester City defender Bernard Mendy was confirmed to self-isolating.

That was followed by Bournemouth, Everton and Watford announcing that they had several members of their team self-isolating as a precaution on Friday morning.

The English Football League have already announced they have suspended all fixtures until April 3 after several of its clubs confirmed they were entering self-isolation after discovering symptoms in some of their players.

“The FA, Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest," read a joint statement from the various organisations.

“This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of Clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the COVID-19 virus.

“The postponements include all matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all Academy and youth team fixtures.

“In addition, clubs are being advised to suspend indefinitely all non-essential activities which include, but are not limited to, player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings.

“Whilst the EFL Board has continued to take the advice and guidance offered by the Government and its health advisors, emerging developments mean now is the time to implement football’s contingency plans in response to the crisis.”

England's friendlies against Denmark and Italy, the Women's Super League and next weekend's Emirates FA Cup ties are also due to be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus.

While the suspension is set to end on April 4, that does not mean games will necessarily resume then, with officials due to meet again before then to review the situation.

Belfast Telegraph