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Covid in England: Premier League sees number of positive tests double

Fulham’s game at Tottenham was postponed on 30 December, followed by the Cottagers’ trip to Burnley, scheduled for three days later

The Premier League says 40 players and club staff have tested positive for coronavirus over the past week – more than double the previous weekly high.

After previously testing once a week, the Premier League conducted 2,295 tests across two rounds over the past week.

Between 28 and 31 December, there were 28 new positive tests and 12 more found between 1 and 3 January.

The previous high was 18 positive results from 21 to 27 December.

“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,” said the Premier League.

The latest results mark an increase in the rate of positive tests. In the latest round, 1.74% of those tested were found to be positive.

The 18 positive tests recorded between 21 and 27 December came from 1,479 tests, a rate of 1.22%.

Three matches in the English top flight were called off last week because of coronavirus outbreaks at individual clubs.

Manchester City’s trip to Everton on 28 December was called off after full-back Kyle Walker and striker Gabriel Jesus tested positive.

Two Fulham away matches were also postponed – at Tottenham on 30 December and Burnley on 3 January.

Fulham said the matches were cancelled after a “significant number” of positive cases at the club.

City’s match at Chelsea on Sunday went ahead despite three more members of Pep Guardiola’s squad returning positive results. Defender Eric Garcia has since became their sixth player to test positive.

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