The Premier League has confirmed that a further 36 players and staff members from top-flight clubs have returned a positive Covid-19 test in the latest round of screening.

The figure is less than the 40 positive tests posted last week and gives a positivity rate of 1.7%, from a total of 2,295 tests. The individuals involved have not been identified.

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The Premier League has so far resisted calls to pause the football calendar temporarily, despite calls for a so-called 'circuit-breaker' from the likes of Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce, the managers of West Brom and Newcastle respectively.

"The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 4 January and Sunday 10 January, across two rounds of testing, 2,593 players and club staff were tested for Covid-19," a Premier League statement read.

"Of these, there were 36 new positive tests.

"Players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

"The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency."

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A total of five Premier League games have been postponed this season thanks to outbreaks of Covid-19, with clubs such as Manchester City, Fulham, Newcastle and Aston Villa all stricken by the virus.

England is back in a national lockdown after a sharp rise in cases across the course of December. Overall, the United Kingdom has recorded over 80,000 deaths, the most in Europe.

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