Sonny Bill Williams’ coronavirus scare
Sonny Bill Williams' rugby league team has isolated four players after showing signs of the coronavirus.
The Toronto Wolfpack revealed today players on its roster had shown "mild symptoms" of the illness.
But general manager Martin Vickers said he could not reveal whether Williams was among the players who may be sick.
"Out of respect to those players and their families, we are going to keep that information private at this time," he told News Corp Australia.
The news comes as the coronavirus has been sweeping across the UK, following a mass outbreak in Italy and soaring cases in France and Spain.
Williams has been playing for the Wolfpack in the UK Super League, with the team based in Manchester, England, for the early part of the season because it is too cold to play in Canada.
The cross code star, who signed a $10 million two year deal, has just been joined by his family in Manchester after the birth of his fourth child.
He posted a picture of his four children laying on him on the couch on Instagram last week: "What you know about that jet lag life! Alhamdullilah all my tribe is together again."
Williams also put up a picture of his wife Alana, who had joined him in Manchester.
There were reports today up to eight million people in Britain may end up in hospital with the illness, according to a leaked briefing to The Guardian newspaper.
And the government has warned people aged 70 plus must self isolate for up to four months to save lives.
The Toronto Wolfpack issued a statement early on Monday, saying it was taking precautions to stop the potential spread of the illness.
"Today, we have advised four of our players who have experienced mild possible symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate in accordance with the guidelines set by the UK government," the club said.
"We take this very seriously and as a precaution, we have stood down our entire playing staff in the UK."
The club was concerned for its players but also for members of the public, with the club training at the Manchester Metropolitan University when it is in the UK.
"We train in an environment where we interact with students and members of the public and we vehemently do not want to act as a possible vector for COVID-19 which is why we have taken this immediate action," the club said.
"The health and welfare of our players, staff, fans and partners is always our primary concern. Our main goal is to prevent any further spread to our playing squad and their immediate family members, therefore we are now postponing all practice and have tasked our squad with keeping themselves healthy."
The club vowed to update the Rugby Football League when it knew the results of any tests.
However, a club spokesman declined to say if the players had been tested, as the UK government has restricted testing and told people with mild symptoms simply to stay at home.
Leeds cancelled its match with Israel Folau's Catalans Dragons as the weekend after a player was suspected of having the virus.
Folau and Williams were due to meet in a clash next month in France, but plans to move the game to a bigger stadium were dashed when the French government banned crowds of more than 1000 people.
Today's news now throws that clash in doubt overall, as the UK Premier League has cancelled all matches for three weeks.