(Reuters) – Several Leicester City players have been kept away from the squad as a precaution after showing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, manager Brendan Rodgers said on Thursday.

Top European leagues such as Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga have been suspended after players either tested positive for the coronavirus or were quarantined as a precaution.

“We’ve had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs (of coronavirus). We’ve followed procedures and they have been kept away from the squad,” Rodgers told reporters ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Watford.

“We’ve got a fantastic medical team who give guidance to the players and staff. Nationally, it’s been made clear what the symptoms are.”

The Premier League has yet to make a call on whether games should be suspended or played behind closed doors. Rodgers said public health should be a top priority.

“From a football perspective it would be a shame but the public’s health is the most important aspect in all of this,” Rodgers added. “We are guided by organisations and governments.

“When the stands are full, that’s when it’s your time to shine. That’s why we do it, we’re doing it for them. When they’re not there, it’s not the same experience.”

European soccer’s governing body UEFA will hold a video conference meeting of all 55 federations plus representatives of clubs, leagues and players to discuss the virus’s impact on all football in the region, including Euro 2020.

Rodgers also confirmed full back Ricardo Pereira is out for the rest of the season after sustaining an ACL injury while midfielder James Maddison will return from a calf injury only after the international break at the end of the month.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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