LONDON – Jamaican international footballer Adrian Mariappa confirmed Wednesday he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus but said he was dumbfounded over how he had contracted it.
The 33-year-old defender is one of three under contract at Watford who received positive tests, with two other members of staff at the Premier League suffering similar fates.
All told, there were six positive tests involving three Premier League clubs, coming in the wake of the resumption of non-contact training as the league aims for a restart next month following a two-month break because of the outbreak of the pandemic.
“It was a big surprise because I haven’t really left the house,” Mariappa was quoted in media reports here as saying.
“Apart from some exercise and the odd walk with the kids, I’ve mainly just been homeschooling and keeping fit.
“My lifestyle is very quiet, certainly no parties or going out or anything, so I really don’t know how I got it.”
Mariappa, who has 49 caps for the Reggae Boyz, has made 15 league appearances for Watford this season as an integral member of the south England club defence.
Watford are battling relegation and lie just outside the bottom three with nine games left in the season.
Mariappa, who was born in the United Kingdom but qualified for the Reggae Boyz through his maternal grandparents, said there had been no deterioration at all in his health, further compounding his shock.
“It’s quite scary how you can feel absolutely fine and not really have left the house, and yet still get the virus,” he pointed out.
“If it wasn’t for the fact I had gone back to training and had this test, then I’d never have found out that I had the virus and I would just be getting on with things as normal. That’s obviously quite a strange thought.”
Mariappa will now undergo a seven-day quarantine.
Over 700 players and staff have been tested as the league ramps up preparation for a re-start.
However, the six positive tests are likely to raise further doubt over the league’s ability to undertake a safe restart to the season.
The UK has been one of the hardest hit regions by the coronavirus, with 248 000 confirmed cases and nearly 36 000 deaths.