Golfer at Celtic Manor-staged tournament tests positive for coronavirus

Golfer at Celtic Manor-staged tournament tests positive for coronavirus

Golfer at Celtic Manor-staged tournament tests positive for coronavirus

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Bars and restaurants were closed at Newport’s Celtic Manor Resort on Thursday for a deep clean after golfer Alex Levy became the first European Tour golfer to test positive for coronavirus.

The news was greeted with shock by his rivals at the Celtic Classic, which is being staged on the Ryder Cup 2010 course, as officials acted quickly to reduce the risks of Covid-19 being passed on.

The players’ lounge was closed on Thursday while the on-site hotel closed bars and restaurants to undertake a deep clean.

Levy initially tested negative after informing tournament officials that a friend he had met at home in France last weekend had tested positive for the virus.

The asymptomatic 30-year-old was re-tested and returned a positive result. Under Public Health Wales guidelines, he must now self-isolate for 14 days.

WalesOnline understands the Celtic Manor was already closed to all other guests prior to the positive test, as a condition of hosting the tournament was having exclusive access to the facilities.

It is staging two back-to-back European Tour golf tournaments this month.

A European Tour spokesperson confirmed to WalesOnline that the spa and swimming pool facilities have not been in use during the tournaments so are unaffected, while bedrooms will be deep cleaned after the second tournament concludes next week.

He said: “All bars and restaurants, and the gym, were closed on Thursday for deep cleaning. All have reopened today [Friday] and are continuing to operate at a reduced capacity to allow for appropriate social distancing.

“This was an isolated incident but at the conclusion of next week’s ISPS Handa Wales Open, in accordance with Celtic Manor’s own robust protocols, cleaning in bedrooms and all public areas will be strengthened to focus on High Impact Touchpoint cleaning.”

Fellow player Romain Wattel was also withdrawn from the event after being identified as one of Levy’s contacts at the Celtic Manor.

Wattel and Levy’s caddie Tom Ayling have returned negative tests.

France’s Alexander Levy

A statement from the European Tour read: “Although Levy initially returned a negative Covid-19 test upon his arrival at the Celtic Manor Resort and had not displayed symptoms, after reporting his exposure and because of the incubation period of the virus, he was subsequently re-tested and returned a positive result.

“Wattel was identified as a contact of Levy after the European Tour and Public Health Wales worked collaboratively to track and trace.

“He was also re-tested but returned a negative result, as did Levy’s caddie Tom Ayling.

“As a precaution, however, Wattel did not participate in the tournament in accordance with Public Health Wales’ guidance.

“Levy, Ayling and Wattel are now all in self-isolation and the European Tour and its medical team will support all three individuals throughout that period.”

A statement on the Celtic Manor’s website prior to the tournament beginning on Thursday said: “In a year when we celebrate the 10 anniversary of staging such a memorable Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, the two events will take place behind closed doors as part of a rescheduled UK Swing of six events.

“With safety as our paramount concern, meticulous planning has already been put in place by officials at the European Tour and we will continue to plan together to ensure that medical and government guidance is followed, and that every safeguarding measure possible is taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“Our 2,000-acre site, our expansive golf courses and our Celtic Collection of large hotels put us at a unique advantage in accommodating the social distancing and other safety measures that will be required.”

Wattel was replaced in the tournament by England’s Matthew Baldwin, while Levy was replaced by Denmark’s Martin Simonsen.

The news of Levy’s positive test was greeted with surprise by his rivals at the Celtic Manor event.

England’s Matt Southgate told Sky Sports News: “I’m obviously pretty shocked.

“I’ve played the last few weeks and the Tour have done an amazing job with the testing facilities and getting us back playing.

“I’ve competed against Alex for years as amateurs and come all the way through the Challenge Tour.

“First and foremost I send my absolute best wishes to Alex and hope he recovers as soon as possible.”

Andrew Johnston, who withdrew after nine holes of the British Masters after struggling to deal with life in the tournament ‘bubble’ added: “I hope he’s got a PlayStation or something.

“It’s hard enough coming out and playing and then going back to the hotel.

“I hope he’s got a Netflix account or something like that and can catch up on a lot of programmes. I feel for him.

“I think the European Tour have done really well to play so many weeks and only have one positive result. It’s bound to happen [with] players travelling.”

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