Former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has been diagnosed with COVID-19 following his return to China, the Belgian’s Chinese Super League club Shandong Luneng announced on its official website on Sunday.
Fellaini, who joined Shandong last January from the English Premier League side, returned to the country on Friday to join up with his club and tested positive for the coronavirus.
Chinese soccer has been hit hard by the outbreak with the start of the Chinese Super League pushed back indefinitely from its intended February 22 start date.
Fellaini is the first player in the country’s top flight to have returned a positive test for the virus.
Brazilian striker Dori, who plays for second division side Meizhou Hakka, was confirmed as having the virus last week while Spain-based China international Wu Lei said he was recovering from the condition on Saturday
On Saturday, Juventus and Argentina forward Paulo Dybala tested positive for coronavirus but has no symptoms, making him one of the most high-profile players to be infected so far.
The English Premier League is tentatively targeting a resumption on June 1 with a view to completing the season over six weeks before making an August start to the 2020-21 campaign, the Sunday Telegraph reported on Sunday.
The report said the sketchy plan was a “best-case scenario” aimed at mitigating the heavy losses clubs are sustaining as they continue to pay wages while football remains shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 13, all elite level soccer matches in England, including the Premier League, were suspended until April 4 with that stoppage subsequently extended until April 30.
The postponement of the Euro 2020 championship for a year, however, has cleared space in the calendar for domestic competitions to finish if the public health situation allows.