THE Premier League have announced there were 40 positive results for coronavirus returned after the latest round of testing – more than DOUBLE the previous record.
On Tuesday, the top-flight revealed 40 of the 1,575 players and members of staff at the 20 top-flight clubs had returned a positive Covid-19 test.
The previous record, set on December 29, was just 18, with the massive surge in the past week a genuine concern following the emergence of a mutant strain of the virus.
The latest round of testing took place between December 28 and January 3.
In that time, THREE Premier League matches were postponed due to clubs being hit hard by Covid.
Players and staff who've tested positive must now self-isolate for the next ten days.
And with matches coming thick and fast, some players could miss up to three games.
In the past week alone, Everton vs Manchester City (December 28), Tottenham vs Fulham (December 30) and Fulham vs Burnley (January 3) were called off.
This week sees the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, as well as a bumper weekend of FA fixtures.
But the Premier League are confident games will still go ahead after the Government gave elite sport the green light to continue despite the nation being plunged into a third full lockdown.
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A PL spokesman added: “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.”
However, culture secretary Oliver Dowden warned Premier League, EFL and FA bosses that further episodes of 'Covidiocy' would make it increasingly hard for games to continue.
The festive period saw a number of players seemingly in breach of coronavirus protocol.
Tottenham stars Giovani Lo Celso, Erik Lamela and Sergio Reguilon – along with West Ham ace Manuel Lanzini were seen at an 18-strong party.
Spurs fined their players after strongly condemning their actions.
Man City ace Benjamin Mendy appeared to host a party at his home on New Year’s Eve – just as five team-mates were struck down with Covid.
Crystal Palace and Fulham also launched investigations after Aleksandar Mitrovic and Luka Milivojevic were filmed together at what seemed to be a New Year's party in London.
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