Sydney: An A-League football player has become the first Australian professional footballer to test positive for the new coronavirus.
The unnamed player, who plays for the Newcastle Jets in New South Wales state, was tested Friday as a precaution before an international flight. He played in recent A-League matches against Brisbane and Melbourne City.
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said the player is asymptomatic and in good health.
"He was fine, no symptoms whatsoever," McKinna told the Australian Associated Press.
"He has tested positive ... as we've found out the player and his family are in isolation and the rest of the squad don't need to get into isolation.
"Obviously we'll be monitoring the players' health. It's definitely real." The player is now in quarantine and the A-League is suspended at least until April 22.
"Our playing squad are closely monitoring their health and will isolate themselves if they experience any symptoms," the Jets said in a statement.
The number of cases worldwide has topped a half-million and deaths climbed past 24,000.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
So far, more than 120,000 people have recovered, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.