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Covid scare at England’s Euro 2020 base as Sky Sports reporter tests positive

St George’s Park has today become the scene of a Covid scare after a Sky Sports journalist tested positive for the virus.

Sportsmail understands that the reporter was asked to leave the premises, along with a cameraman from the broadcaster.

What were already stringent controls have been stepped up following the shambles which saw Three Lions pair Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell forced to self-isolate for 10 days following a lengthy chat with Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour after the 0-0 draw, with Gilmour subsequently testing positive.

From the start, medical staff are known to have identified the media as a potential risk to the biosecure bubble. 

As a result, there has been no contact with the press from comms officers who work directly with Gareth Southgate and the England team.

A Sky Sports spokesperson said: ‘A reporter is isolating in a hotel and awaiting the result of a PCR test. 

There has been a Covid scare at the England training base after a Sky Sports journalist working inside St George’s Park tested positive for coronavirus

The journalist was swiftly sent home from the Three Lions' St George's base and told to isolate

The journalist was swiftly sent home from the Three Lions’ St George’s base and told to isolate

‘The camera operative tested negative and has left St George’s Park to self-isolate.’

The positive test comes at a precarious time, as England are still in the process of handling the fall-out from Chilwell and Mount’s isolation after coming into contact with Scotland star and Chelsea team-mate Gilmour.

It emerged on Wednesday that the FA are seeking permission from Public Health England for Mount and Chilwell to take part in socially-distanced training with their team-mates over the next few days in the hope they can play some part in the last-16 tie next Tuesday.

The positive test comes as England as still trying to handle the fall-out from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell coming into close contact will Billy Gilmour (centre), who also tested positive

The positive test comes as England as still trying to handle the fall-out from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell coming into close contact will Billy Gilmour (centre), who also tested positive

EURO 2020 COVID BUBBLE GUIDELINES

Government guidance states that ‘close contacts’ of COVID cases include people who had face-to-face conversations within one-metre, and anyone who was within two-metres for more than 15 minutes.

Players at Euro 2020 are tested regularly, and those who are positive must self-isolate for 10 days.

Any other players or staff deemed to have been in close contact with someone with COVID during the tournament also have to isolate for 10 days.

The isolation period for close contacts of COVID cases includes the date of their last contact and the next 10 full days, according to government guidance.

For this reason, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were forced to isolate after having a ’20 minute chat’ with Chelsea team-mate Billy Gilmour after England’s match with Scotland. Gilmour later tested positive. 

Euro 2020 squads were expanded from 23 players to 26 to account for the chance that some teams could be hit by COVID outbreaks.

If multiple players have to isolate, matches will still go ahead providing the team can name 13 players in their squad – a minimum of 12 outfield players plus one goalkeeper.

If a team cannot named 13 players in their squad, the game can be postponed by up to 48 hours.

If the affected team still cannot meet the minimum requirements for a matchday squad, they will forfeit the game and suffer an automatic 3-0 defeat. 

Each media day at the England training base a long serving tradition sees a member of the squad who is up for interview that day play darts against one of the attending reporters.

This has continued during Euro 2020, despite stricter measures in place general to minimise contact between England players and the outside world. 

Southgate has not written off the chances of either player being used in England’s first knockout game at Wembley, despite the fact they have to self-isolate until Monday following their close contact with Gilmour last Friday.

But the extent of their involvement in the match is likely to be determined by how effectively they can train over the next week.

The FA are hopeful that, if the Chelsea pair continue to record daily negative tests, they will be gradually allowed back into group training.

Public Health England initially told the FA that Mount and Chilwell would have to train on their own at St George’s Park until Monday when confirming the pair had to isolate on Tuesday morning, but Southgate has asked officials for clarification.

The FA are understood to have pointed Public Health England to the precedent of socially-distanced training set by the Premier League clubs ahead of Project Restart last summer, when players were initially only permitted to work in groups of five before resuming contact training after a fortnight.

The rules for isolation ‘bubbles’ during the European championships has caused uproar across the country, with guidelines for footballers differing from the rest of the public in order for the tournament to continue.

Despite Scotland player Gilmour testing positive, none of his international team-mates were required to isolate in the same manner as Chilwell and Mount.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week appeared on Good Morning Britain to field questions regarding the latest isolation guidelines, though appeared to be unable to give a substantiated answer when asked by anchor Susanna Reid about why the Scotland team did not collectively isolate.

The example of school protocol was put to the Health Secretary, in which it was outlined that all pupils and members of staff who come into contact with another person who has returned a positive test must immediately head home and enter a 10-day period of isolation.

The FA will ask if Ben Chilwell (left) and Mason Mount (right) can take part in socially-distance training ahead of England's Euro 2020 last-16 match against Germany

The FA will ask if Ben Chilwell (left) and Mason Mount (right) can take part in socially-distance training ahead of England’s Euro 2020 last-16 match against Germany

Mount had played in England's first two Group games but had to miss win over Czech Republic

Mount had played in England’s first two Group games but had to miss win over Czech Republic

ENGLAND’S ST GEORGE’S PARK BASE: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW…

St George’s Park is the English Football Association’s national football centre built on a 330-acre site at Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire.

The centre was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 9 October 2012.

The purpose of the centre is to be the base for all coaching and development work undertaken by the FA, and to be the training and preparation ground for all levels of the England national team.

Gareth Southgate’s side are currently based up at the headquarters, preparing for their Euro 2020 last 16 clash against old rivals Germany.

The centre has 12 world-class training pitches, with both grass and artificial surfaces, one of which is an exact replica of the surface used at Wembley Stadium, and a full-sized indoor pitch.

It also has state-of-the-art hydrotherapy suites, biomechanics and training gyms, video analysis amenities, educational and coaching suites and medical and sport science facilities.

This was not the case with the Scotland team, who returned to action on Wednesday against Croatia for their final group game of the competition. 

As revealed by Sportsmail, Scotland captain Andy Robertson had swiftly deleted a video showing Gilmour playing table tennis and socalising with his team-mates, not long before he returned a positive test. 

It is widely understood that the contact that caused most concern was a 25-minute conversation between the three players – Gilmour, Mount and Chilwell – in the tunnel following the England vs Scotland game.

Government guidance states that close contacts of COVID cases include people who had face-to-face conversations within one-metre, and anyone who was within two-metres for more than 15 minutes.

Players at Euro 2020 are tested regularly, and those who are positive must self-isolate for 10 days.

Any other players or staff deemed to have been in close contact with someone with COVID during the tournament also have to isolate for 10 days.

The isolation period for close contacts of COVID cases includes the date of their last contact and the next 10 full days, according to government guidance.

With England already through to the knockout stages of the tournament, it means Mount and Chilwell could miss their crunch last-16 tie with Germany, which takes place next Tuesday.


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