It was just seven days ago that Callum Hudson-Odoi was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It sure feels like a lifetime!
Since then, Chelsea have been self-isolation (except for that one Mason Mount incident, for which he apologized though it may yet lead to a fine), but are apparently set to return to training on Monday. At least that’s the impression that Willian’s operating under, as he revealed in a video chat with Esporte Interativo (via Sport Witness).
How is that possible? Presumably it’s because the team’s exposure to Hudson-Odoi was backdated to the Sunday of the Everton match, which is when he last had contact with the rest of the team. Here’s how Willian describes the sequence of events.
“I remember we played against Everton on a Sunday, I think, and he was injured, but he was at the game, he went to watch the game, after the game he stayed in the locker room with us.
“On Monday we had a day off and came back on Tuesday. Then he didn’t present himself again. On Tuesday, Wednesday and even Thursday he hadn’t returned to training.
“Then we learned that he wasn’t well, that he was sick, felt a fever, I think, and I think Thursday night was when we heard that he tested positive for the Coronavirus. So, starting this Thursday night, the club informed us that we were supposed to stay at home, not leave the house until further information. That was what happened.”
Standard protocol calls for 14 days of isolation without any symptoms showing, although Willian says that none of the other players have been tested, so it’s unclear if any of them may be carriers. Presumably, that will mean that the team’s contact with the outside world will continue to be restricted — especially if London were to go into similar lockdown procedures seen elsewhere around the world.
If the Chelsea squad can remain isolated and symptom-free, we could conceivably keep fit and ready for the eventual resumption of the league, which may take the form of a closed-doors tournament starting at some point in the near future. Though again, it all depends on how the country continues to respond to the still-escalating pandemic.
UEFA and European clubs have committed to finishing out the season before June 30 one way or another, though Willian claims that he’d be happy to play on past that date if necessary, even if his contract situation remains unresolved.
“My contract really ends, I think in July. And if I had to play on those dates, in these months, I think it would be no problem for me to end the league in a way which would be loyal to the club, as they always were with me. Regardless of a signed paper.
“But it’s clear that this is not a certainty, we don’t know what can happen. But without a doubt, as always, I will always be ready to give the best to my club regardless of my contract situation.”
That’s one scenario we can probably rule out. But whether we see Willian play for us again is even more unclear than before.