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Liga MX restart not under threat despite rising coronavirus cases in Mexico

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The number of positive coronavirus cases in Liga MX and in Mexico continues to rise, but the July 24 start date to kick off the 2020 Apertura isn't under threat.

Puebla reported Saturday that three members of their staff, including one player, had tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total of positive tests in Liga MX to 35, including Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla, who announced he had the virus on March 20 but has since recovered.

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"As a result of the 55 medical tests carried out last Tuesday on our squad, staff and directors, three positive COVID-19 results were found," read the statement from Puebla. "One player, one member of the coaching staff and another member of staff."

Mexico has seen a spike in the number of new cases in recent weeks, with a record 5,222 new cases confirmed by the government on June 12 followed by 3,494 more on June 13, with close to 1,000 deaths reported over those two dates.

Many teams, including the "big four" of Club America, Cruz Azul, Pumas and Chivas are all returning to training on Monday, under strict Liga MX protocol that will see players train individually or in small groups.

But in case of new positive cases coming up as the clubs build to their first games since mid-March, when the 2020 Clausura season was suspended and subsequently canceled, the plan is to isolate the players and carry on.

"The [start] date hasn't changed," said government health promotion secretary Ricardo Cortes in a news conference on Saturday. "It's still July 24 and they are checking players; if any come out positive, that person will be isolated and the tournament will begin with other players."

Cortes added that the clubs "have enough players to begin the league as planned."

When Liga MX does resume, it'll be with a new playoff structure that will see the top four clubs in the regular season advance to the quarterfinals, while fifth place down to 12th will play an elimination round of games to decide the other four quarterfinalists.

The elimination round will be one game only, with the team highest in the table hosting and penalties to decide which team goes through in case of a draw after 90 minutes.

Liga MX also confirmed last week that Morelia has moved to Mazatlan and that Queretaro had been sold by Grupo Caliente to Gabriel Solares.