Coronavirus: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta opens up on illness

Arteta tested positive for the virus on March 12, with his diagnosis hastening a suspension on top-level English football, which will remain in pace until at least April 30 due to the ongoing pandemic.

The 37-year-old Spaniard positive test was confirmed shortly after that of Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who came into contact with Arsenal players after the sides played in the Europa League two weeks earlier.

“I am feeling completely recovered,” Arteta told Arsenal’s official website.

“It’s true I started having some symptoms when we got the phone call from the club to let us know that we might be exposed to the virus because of the owner of Olympiacos and in that moment… I don’t know, I felt something within me, that I had it.

“We had a game the following day against Manchester City, so I made a decision and called the doctor straight away and I asked him to drive home.

“I said, ‘Listen, we have a couple of players that have been exposed. There is a massive risk there and as well I am the first one feeling the symptoms, very clear symptoms. So if that is the case, all of the players and the people related to the club who are in contact with me on a daily basis are exposed. So we cannot make that decision, we have to speak to the Premier League, to Manchester City and we have to make the decision pretty quickly.'”

Having gone through what he describes as a difficult few days, suffering symptoms including a temperature, dry cough and chest discomfort, Arteta admitted catching the illness brought about “fear” of having spread it.

With Arsenal’s return to training delayed amid the government’s instruction for the public to stay at home where possible, Arteta has urged fans to follow the club’s example.

“Please to everybody, we are a little bit behind other countries, for example Spain, where I know the situation they are living at the moment, and while we are having the opportunity a little bit to minimise the risk, I encourage everybody please to be responsible and stay at home as much as possible,” Arteta said.

“That is all we can do from our position, we don’t have the ability to help others in other circumstances, so please at least stay at home and do what is required.

“We have to try to help the NHS as much as possible and we have to give the opportunity to the elderly people who needs this more than anybody else to get the treatment they require. We have to slow the process down and the virus down, so please stay at home.”

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