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Billy Gilmour and team-mates - Scotland scramble to contain Covid outbreak after Billy Gilmour tests positive - Shuttershock

Billy Gilmour and team-mates – Scotland scramble to contain Covid outbreak after Billy Gilmour tests positive – Shuttershock

Andy Robertson has deleted a video of him playing table tennis with Billy Gilmour, who has tested positive for Covid-19.

John McGinn was also in the footage, which vanished from the Liverpool player’s Instagram page on the morning it emerged that Gilmour must now isolate for 10 days. The Chelsea midfielder will not play for Scotland against Croatia on Tuesday.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Scotland, but the video caused alarm among fans terrified of losing Robertson, the team’s captain, and Aston Villa’s McGinn for the decisive final Euro 2020 group game.

A positive test for Gilmour, the star man in Scotland’s goalless draw with England, is disastrous enough for the national team’s FA, which is understood to be satisfied that he had no close contacts, despite the ping pong match.

Telegraph Sport has contacted the governing body for further comment.

Under tournament bubble rules, most teams only deem “close contact” rules to apply for a sustained period exceeding 15 minutes. However, Gilmour’s positive test also placed England on alert because many members of Gareth Southgate’s squad, including Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount, embraced their opponent after the full-time whistle.

An FA spokesman clarified that all 26 England players and the wider support team returned negative results after the latest round of Uefa PCR testing on Sunday. When asked whether more tests would be carried out as a result of the Gilmour news, the English governing body, which confirmed that players would train as normal on Monday, said it would “continue to follow the appropriate Covid-19 protocols”.

“The full squad will train at Spurs Lodge this morning,” a spokesman added. “We remain in contact with Public Health England and continue to prepare for tomorrow night’s fixture against Czech Republic at Wembley.”

All other coronavirus tests within the Scotland camp returned negative on Monday.

Gilmour, at just 20 years old, was hailed for a dominant man-of-the-match performance against England. Both the remaining Scotland and England group fixtures will go ahead because teams must fulfil their Euro fixtures as long as they have a minimum of 13 players available.

Under Uefa bubble arrangements any player who tests positive must immediately be isolated from the rest of the squad in order to contain the outbreak. Team-mates or staff deemed to have had close contact with the infected players can in some circumstances be ordered to do the same.

After Scotland squad member John Fleck tested positive for coronavirus before the tournament, he missed the 2-2 friendly draw with the Netherlands along with six close contacts. However, they returned in time for the 1-0 friendly win over Luxembourg and Fleck was available for Scotland’s 2-0 defeat by the Czechs and the draw with England.

Before the tournament, Spain had been worst hit, with several players using a parallel training bubble as a precaution after multiple positive tests in their main squad. The maximum squad size was raised from 23 to 26 players, while managers are able to make five substitutions per match instead of three, to allow teams to cope with the increased pressure Covid placed on squads.

Q&A: Billy Gilmour’s positive test for coronavirus

By Ben Rumsby

How long will Gilmour be in isolation?
For 10 days from the moment he either tested positive or first developed symptoms – whichever was earlier. That means he is set to miss not only Scotland’s final group game against Croatia but any potential last-16 tie if they qualify. He will be allowed to return if Scotland reach the quarter-finals. Under Uefa rules, Scotland can call up a replacement for a player who contracts Covid-19 but it would have to be a permanent one.

How did Gilmour catch the virus?
This is a huge question given Euro 2020 squads are meant to be in even stricter bubbles than players have been used to, ones in which they are not allowed contact with friends or family. Paul Pogba broke those rules when he mingled with the crowd after France’s win over Germany and the Scotland management will be investigating whether a similar breach occurred.

Why aren’t any other players isolating?
Telegraph Sport has been told there are no close contacts who would be required to quarantine under Government rules. Examples of close contact can include: living in the same household; a face-to-face conversation within one metre; being within one metre for a minute or longer; being within two metres for more than 15 minutes. Travelling in the same vehicle or plane can also be deemed close contact. Gilmour also did hug Chelsea team-mates Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell after Friday’s game between England and Scotland. Because elite football is operating in a semi-bubble and players are tested so frequently, it seems to have been given more leeway when it comes to these definitions.

Were Scotland players vaccinated?
No. Unlike Olympic athletes and the British and Irish Lions rugby squad, footballers living in Britain were not allowed to jump the vaccine queue. Given the acceleration of the rollout in recent days, it could be argued in hindsight that this was a mistake. However, because vaccination can make people feel unwell, there may have been a reluctance from clubs to give their players jabs before the end of the season.

What does this mean for Scotland and England?
A nervous few days while they wait to find out if anyone else tests positive. The Football Association confirmed on Monday that all England players produced negative tests on Sunday but that does not mean they will not develop Covid-19 in the coming days. Testing could be ramped up by both teams given the dire consequences of a mass outbreak within a squad.