Rugby in England has suffered a setback ahead of this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership restart as five players have tested positive for coronavirus just two days after only a single player was positive for the virus. 

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989 players and club staff were tested on Monday, a round of testing that confirmed just one player and three non-playing staff members had contracted the virus. 

However, the follow-up round of testing of 956 players and staff which was conducted on Wednesday has revealed that seven people have tested positive for coronavirus from six different Premiership clubs. Of those seven, five are players and two are members of staff.

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Former Scotland international Alex Grove guests in the latest episode of The Lockdown, the RugbyPass pandemic interview series

A statement from Premiership Rugby read: “Those who have tested positive and their close contacts will now isolate and be assessed in line with the PHE-agreed guidelines.

“Premiership Rugby and the RFU are providing this aggregated information for competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided. The number of positive results will be made public after each round of testing.”

In the six weeks of coronavirus testing so far, 39 Premiership people – 26 players and 13 non-playing staff members – have tested positive. 

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Week One (July 6) – 804 players and club staff were tested. Of these, ten people tested positive. Six were players and four non-playing staff;

Week Two (July 13) – 856 players and club staff were tested. Of these, nine people tested positive. Seven were players and two non-playing staff;

Week Three (July 20) – 896 players and club staff were tested. Two players tested positive;

Week Four (July 27) – 846 players and club staff were tested. Of these, five people tested positive. Four were players and one was a non-playing member of staff;

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Week Five (August 3) – 917 players and club staff were tested. Of these, two people tested positive. One was a player and one was a non-playing member of staff;

Week Six (August 10) – 989 players and club staff were tested. Of those, four people tested positive. One is a player and three are non-playing members of staff;

Week Six (August 12) – 956 players and club staff were tested. Of those, seven people tested positive. Five are players and two are non-playing members of staff.

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