Newcastle have struck a blow to Western United’s A-League finals hopes with a 1-0 win at McDonald Jones Stadium.
An unnamed Newcastle Jets player has returned a positive test for COVID-19, just days after the A-League was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They have become the first professional footballer in Australia to test positive to the COVID-19 virus.
The player, who underwent the test as a precaution before a pre-scheduled international flight, was a member of the Jets’ squad for last weekend’s A-League matches against Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City.
He was asymptomatic and Jets’ chief executive Lawrie McKinna said he remains in good health.
“He was fine, no symptoms whatsoever,” McKinna told AAP.
“He was tested positive … as we’ve found out the player and his family are in isolation and the rest of the squad don’t need to get into isolation.
“Obviously we’ll be monitoring the players’ health. It’s definitely real.”
The test result came back on Friday, McKinna confirmed.
Football Federation Australia have suspended the A-League until April 22 amid increasing travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was taken less than 24 hours after the Jets’ beat Melbourne City 2-1 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Monday night.
In a statement, the Jets said the player had begun quarantine in accordance with NSW Health protocols.
“Our playing squad are closely monitoring their health and will isolate themselves if they experience any symptoms,” the statement said.
Late on Saturday, Wellington Phoenix confirmed a non-playing member of the club’s staff had also tested positive for COVID-19.
“The club is cooperating fully with all the relevant health authorities and is focused on supporting staff, as well as ensuring that all government protocols are being closely adhered to,” the club said.
All Phoenix players and staff who had direct contact with the staff member are being monitored for possible symptoms and will be tested if they show signs of infection.
The Phoenix flew home to New Zealand after the league was suspended having spent more than a week in isolation in Sydney in an attempt to fulfill their remaining fixtures by staying in Australia.
It is unclear if the staff member contracted the virus during that stay, on the flight home, or at a later date.