Covid-19 cases have reached a record high in the Premier League, with 40 recorded in the latest rounds of testing - double the previous weekly record of 18 reported a week ago.
On Monday night, the UK Government gave its go-ahead for elite sport to continue in England, despite imposing a strict nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Since the discovery of a new variant of the virus, the Premier League has begun testing twice a week. Between December 28 and December 31, 28 players and club staff returned positive samples - with a further 12 confirmed to have caught Covid-19 between January 1 and January 3. All of the individuals affected have been self-isolating for 10 days.
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Three fixtures have been postponed during that time, due to outbreaks at Manchester City and Fulham.
City’s game at Everton was called-off four hours before it was due to be played on December 28, while Fulham had to postpone matches against Tottenham and Burnley in the past week.
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The Premier League says it continues to have “confidence” in the Covid-19 protocols which are in place across the top flight, with the majority of clubs still returning low numbers of tests.
Despite calls from West Bromwich Albion boss Sam Allardyce to introduce a two-week “circuit-breaker” to get a handle on cases, the Premier League recently said it has “no plans” to pause the season.
City returned to action with a 3-1 win over Chelsea on Sunday, despite being without six players due to coronavirus, while Sheffield United have continued to play on despite reporting an outbreak at the league’s bottom club.
Fulham have not played since a 0-0 draw with Southampton on Boxing Day and are next due to be in action in Saturday’s west London derby with QPR in the third round of the FA Cup.
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