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La Liga has confirmed that five players in Spain‘s first and second divisions have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tests were carried out at the 42 club training grounds this week as a first step toward a return for Spanish football. 

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“Between the clubs of [the first and second divisions], five positive cases have been detected among players, all of them asymptomatic and in the final stage of the illness,” a statement from La Liga read.

Players who have tested positive will remain in isolation at home and be tested again over the coming days. When they have returned two negative results, 72 hours apart, they will be able to join their teammates in training.

La Liga will not confirm the names of any players who test positive, citing data protection laws.

Top-flight players from England and Italy have also tested positive in recent days, while second division German side Dynamo Dresden are in isolation ahead of their scheduled restart next weekend.

In La Liga, Barcelona were one of the first clubs to return to training on Friday — along with Sevilla, Villarreal, Osasuna and Leganes — with others to follow in the coming days.

Barcelona’s training ground saw 11 players taking part in individual sessions at any one time on Friday morning. Exercises including sprints and ball work were conducted with players spread across three separate pitches.

Players arrived wearing masks, gloves and kits that had been provided when they were tested on Wednesday. They did not use dressing rooms or other facilities, going directly to pitches to train before returning home to shower.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid have announced that they will begin working at their Valdebebas training ground on Monday. Manager Zinedine Zidane was able to speak to players in person while maintaining social distancing on Wednesday for the first time since they were sent home on March 12.

Club facilities were disinfected and checked by La Liga inspectors earlier this week, following the approval of a protocol for the resumption of professional sport by Spain’s Ministry of Health.

Although a state of emergency will remain in place in the country until at least May 24, a gradual relaxation of social distancing measures is now underway.

A four-week process will see a staggered return to full training with individual sessions followed by small-group activities. La Liga has said that it hopes to resume the season in June, with 11 rounds of matches still to be played.

La Liga has insisted that a specific date has yet to be confirmed, and a return to competitive games will be subject to the progression of Spain’s de-escalation process.

Spain has registered more than 222,000 coronavirus cases and more than 26,000 deaths.

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