The Premier League has confirmed a season-high 40 positive coronavirus cases were recorded in the latest week of testing.
It is the first week of players and club staff being tested twice a week for COVID-19.
Twenty-eight positive results were returned out of 1,311 tests taken between December 28 and December 31, with a further 12 new positives recorded from 984 tests conducted between January 1 and January 3.
Eighteen individuals tested positive in last week’s Premier League coronavirus results, which were recorded between December 21-27 and had been the highest total.
Everton vs Manchester City on December 28, Tottenham vs Fulham on December 30 and Burnley vs Fulham on January 3 were all forced to be postponed amid coronavirus outbreaks at City and Fulham.
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Four matches have been called off because of coronavirus cases this season. Newcastle’s game away at Aston Villa on December 4 was postponed due to multiple Covid-19 positives among Steve Bruce’s squad and backroom staff.
The Premier League has not discussed the possibility of a circuit break for the season despite the growing number of postponed matches.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Premier League said: “With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols, fully backed by the Government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled.”
Coronavirus numbers are on the rise in the UK with over 50,000 new cases recorded for the seventh day in a row on Monday, prompting Boris Johnson to announce a national lockdown for England. Under the new restrictions, elite sport can continue behind closed doors.
Over the New Year, a number of Premier League players, including Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy, Tottenham trio Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon, and West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini. were reminded of their responsibilities concerning coronavirus protocols after breaching the rules over the festive period.
However, the FA will not charge any player for breaking coronavirus rules over the festive period, while the Premier League will leave it to the individual clubs to discipline those involved.
The national governing body for football in England insists protocols and compliance are determined by the respective rules of the leagues, so any breaches would fall under their jurisdiction.
The PFA are in dialogue with the Premier League with regards to player protocols, surrounding coronavirus.