France’s Alex Levy has become the first European Tour player to test positive for Covid-19 following his withdrawal from the Celtic Classic.
Levy initially tested negative after informing tournament officials that a friend he had met at home in France over the weekend had tested positive for the virus, but was re-tested and returned a positive result.
The 30-year-old must now self-isolate for 14 days and fellow player Romain Wattel was also withdrawn from the event after being identified as one of Levy’s contacts at Celtic Manor.
Wattel and Levy’s caddie Tom Ayling have returned negative tests.
A statement from the European Tour read: “Although Levy initially returned a negative COVID-19 test upon his arrival at the Celtic Manor Resort and had not displayed symptoms, after reporting his exposure and because of the incubation period of the virus, he was subsequently re-tested and returned a positive result.
“Wattel was identified as a contact of Levy after the European Tour and Public Health Wales worked collaboratively to track and trace. He was also re-tested but returned a negative result, as did Levy’s caddie Tom Ayling.
“As a precaution, however, Wattel did not participate in the tournament in accordance with Public Health Wales’ guidance.
“Levy, Ayling and Wattel are now all in self-isolation and the European Tour and its medical team will support all three individuals throughout that period.”
The news of Levy’s positive test was greeted with shock at Celtic Manor, where the players’ lounge was closed on Thursday. The on-site hotel also closed bars and restaurants to undertake a deep clean.
England’s Matt Southgate told Sky Sports News: “I’m obviously pretty shocked. I’ve played the last few weeks and the Tour have done an amazing job with the testing facilities and getting us back playing.
“I’ve competed against Alex for years as amateurs and come all the way through the Challenge Tour and first and foremost I send my absolute best wishes to Alex and hope he recovers as soon as possible.”
Andrew Johnston, who withdrew after nine holes of the British Masters after struggling to deal with life in the tournament ‘bubble’ added: “I hope he’s got a PlayStation or something.
“It’s hard enough coming out and playing and then going back to the hotel. I hope he’s got a Netflix account or something like that and can catch up on a lot of programmes. I feel for him.
“I think the European Tour have done really well to play so many weeks and only have one positive result. It’s bound to happen (with) players travelling.”