Just two weeks after the season restart, the AFL has been rocked by the coronavirus crisis with Essendon player Conor McKenna testing positive to COVID-19.
It’s understood the 24-year-old spent two weeks in quarantine after returning from Ireland before the season restart.
But AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says it’s likely he contracted the virus in Australia after previously testing negative a number of times.
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“He has tested negative five times, he was tested Wednesday and tested negative in that result, and there was such a low level in his test on Friday that it came up as an irregularity.
“Then it was a positive test on Saturday so based on those facts it’s that he picked it up this week here in Australia.”
The club confirmed the news in a statement overnight, revealing McKenna was asymptomatic and showed no signs of having the virus.
“All Essendon players and staff were tested on Friday afternoon and McKenna has since returned the sole positive result… The players and staff have now been advised to isolate until further notice,” Essendon Football Club said.
As a result, the Round 3 Essendon v Melbourne match which was due to take place today has now been postponed.
The Gold Coast SUNS clash with the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium has now been moved from 1.05pm to 3.05pm, while the Fremantle v Port Adelaide match, also at Metricon, has been moved from 6.10pm to 8.10pm.
Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell said the Club would continue to fully support McKenna and those around him during this time.
“The AFL and Department of Health and Human Services were notified immediately per the protocols. We will continue to work with the DHHS and the Chief Health Officer’s team, as well as the AFL over the coming days to seek further details,” Campbell said.
“We are also working with the Department to identify those who they deem to have been in close contact with Conor and isolate them.
“The priority is also to provide our full support for Conor and ensure his health and welfare during this difficult time for him.
“We will continue to provide our full support for our remaining players and staff.
“Further, the Club is now closed and will be thoroughly cleaned as per the Health Department requirements until further notice.”