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Newcastle boss Bruce tells players to stay at home

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London (AFP)

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has told his players to stay at home during the Premier League's coronavirus lockdown.

The Premier League announced on Friday that all matches would be postponed until April 3 over fears about the spread of the deadly pandemic.

Bruce said Newcastle had already drawn up a response to the coronavirus outbreak when the governing bodies acted on Friday after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the illness.

That will entail the players staying at home and working on their personal fitness programmes to stay in shape.

Bruce, whose side were due to face Sheffield United on Saturday, said: "We've set the personal programmes in place, they're ready to go.

"I think that's what the doctors of all the clubs are recommending. Up until yesterday, we thought we were fine to play this weekend, but when the news broke (about Arteta), it was obvious the situation had changed.

"Once we heard about that, and Leicester and now Chelsea, we knew things had moved on.

"We've been talking about what will happen if everything is suspended for two weeks, four weeks. The plan would be for the players to go away with their own individual programmes, to take them away from here, because we are on top of each other.

"There are 70 or 80 of us in quite a confined space. If one of them got infected when they were away from the training ground and then came back in, clearly that would be an issue. It's so contagious, apparently."

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