The Premier League has announced 18 new positive Covid-19 tests on players and staff, the highest weekly total since the project restarted.
In the final test round, 1,479 players and employees were tested. The results show a sharp jump from last week's total, a day after Manchester City's trip to Everton at Goodison Park was postponed due to an outbreak in the City squad over the holiday season.
Positive tests that City reported on Monday weren't included in the latest results, leaving 13 cases at other clubs.
The Premier League has reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases since the project restarted
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus is one of the 18 cases in the last week of league testing
PREMIER LEAGUE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS FOR SEASON 2020-21
Round 1: August 31 – September 6 – 1,605 tested, three tested positive.
round 2: 7-13 September – 2,131 tested, four tested positive.
Round 3: 14.-20. September – 1,574 tested, three tested positive.
Round 4: 21.-27. September – 1,595 tested, 10 tested positive.
Round 5: Sep 28 – Oct 4 – 1,587 tested, nine tested positive.
Round 6: 5th-11th October – 1,128 tested, five tested positive.
Round 7: 12.-18. October – 1,575 tested, eight tested positive.
Round 8: 19.-25. October – 1,609 tested, two tested positive.
Round 9: October 26 – November 1 – 1,446 tested, four tested positive.
Round 10: 2.-8. November – 1,646 tested, four tested positive.
Round 11: 9.-15. November – 1,207 tested, 16 tested positive.
Round 12: 16.-22. November – 1,530 tested, eight tested positive.
Round 13: 23.-29. November – 1,381 tested, 10 tested positive.
Round 14: November 30 – December 6 – 1,483 tested, 14 tested positive.
Round 15: 7-13 December – 1,549 tested, six tested positive.
Round 16: 14.-20. December – 1,569 tested, seven tested positive
Round 17: 21.-27. December – 1,479 tested, 18 tested positive
The increase in positive tests is due to experts calling for a serious postponement of the whole of football.
Rochdale team doctor Wesley Tensel believes serious thought needs to be given to stopping the current campaign.
"These players are under pressure to come out and perform when they have serious concerns deep down – they have young children, they have older family members," he told BBC Radio Five Live Breakfast.
& # 39; Ultimately, these players are like everyone else and the question sometimes arises as to whether the season is still going.
“Personally, I think in the midst of a pandemic and spreading, the numbers are rising and the fact that we have these tier 4 places where people can't travel but footballers are able to go in and out and things Bringing Back to Family It's probably not the smartest thing to do right now.
EFL matches due to COVID
Millwall versus Watford
Peterborough versus Charlton
Accrington Stanley versus Sunderland
Bristol Rovers versus Portsmouth
Fleetwood versus Doncaster Rovers
Hull City versus Lincoln
Rochdale versus Crewe
AFC Wimbledon versus Ipswich Town
Bolton versus Morecambe
& # 39; It's likely controversial and there are other players, other doctors who would disagree.
"In addition to a team doctor, I am a general practitioner and have helped on the Covid wards. So I see both sides and it just seems that a bigger picture is going on."
In the top four divisions, nine games were postponed Tuesday due to virus outbreaks. Morecambe, who is set to play Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup, Doncaster Rovers and Rochdale have postponed several games due to the spread of the virus.
Despite the rising number of cases, Everton were furious about the decision to abandon the game with City just hours before kick-off. Everton wanted to play and had started preparations for the game at the Liverpool Hilton Hotel, the usual base.
Everton will now ask the Premier League to fully disclose how they came to the decision to be transparent about the reasons behind this.
Under the rules of the Premier League, matches should take place when a club has 14 players, including a goalkeeper. However, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis and depending on the circumstances – especially in the context of the pandemic.
It is believed that the precaution took into account that some of the players who tested negative on Monday may have different results on Wednesday.
City couldn't test twice in the face of the tight turnaround after the Boxing Day game, and sources claimed everyone involved at Goodison Park would have been exposed to unnecessary risk.
City's game against Everton on Monday has been postponed due to the increase in positive testing
City confirmed they now had more than five cases in a statement following their postponement, while Arsenal revealed defender Gabriel Magalhaes tested positive and isolated.
Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker were named as the two City players in the Etihad Club's first round of positive testing. These are two of the 18 cases reported by the Premier League on Tuesday.
Players or club staff who test positive will now self-isolate for a period of 10 days.
The Premier League will not disclose the identity of those who test positive for privacy reasons. However, the clubs have issued their own statements to clarify the absence of first-team players when it is virus-related.
The latest results will be worrying as it is the largest weekly total for players and club staff since testing began. The Times reported Tuesday that twice-weekly testing is now becoming the protocol for the entire league.
It remains unclear how many clubs are affected and whether other clubs are now at risk of postponing games in order to deal with a possible breakout.
Kyle Walker is currently isolated and missed his Premier League game against Newcastle
In the case of City, however, it was decided to postpone the postponement and it is expected that the league will have the power to override its own guidelines on a case-by-case basis.
On Monday, the UK recorded the highest daily infection rate since the pandemic started in March.
The highest number of cases in a round of Premier League testing so far this season was 16 in the week of November 9-15.
A Premier League statement said: “The Premier League can confirm today that 1,479 players and club staff were tested for Covid-19 between Monday 21 December and Sunday 27 December. There were 18 new positive tests.
& # 39; Players or club staff who test positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.
& # 39; The Premier League makes this aggregated information available for the purpose of the integrity and transparency of the competition.
"The league will not disclose specific club or individual details and the results will be published after each round of testing."
City officials believe her outbreak stems from a night in a London hotel ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final win against Arsenal last week.
As a result, the virus has now spread through the City's bladder. The Goodison Park clash has been postponed and Sunday's big game against Chelsea has been called into question.
City's upcoming games against Chelsea and Manchester United are also threatened
In response to the City outbreak, a Premier League statement said: “This surge has created uncertainty and the Premier League Board received medical advice that the game should be postponed. The board agreed to reorganize the game as a precaution, and more testing will take place tomorrow.
& # 39; The decision was made with the health of players and staff as a priority.
& # 39; The Premier League continues to have full confidence in its protocols and rules and in the way all clubs implement them. The League wishes those with COVID-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed game against Everton in due course. & # 39;
The postponement of City versus Everton is only the second Premier League game to be canceled due to health reasons due to the virus.
Postponing a number of games in an already shortened season would be a significant headache with City still participating in four competitions.
However, they wanted to emphasize that postponing the game on Monday night was the only logical move, given the possible consequences.
City, already six points behind leaders Liverpool, will now spend the rest of the season regaining a foothold in every way.
Should they go all the way into the Champions League – something they haven't yet achieved under Pep Guardiola – they could have to cut seven Premier League games down to just 16 days in May.
City are already playing in the Premier League as they try to regain their crown
COVID-19 Questions And Answers: What It Takes To Stop Football? Can the Premier League break its own 14-player rule? And what does all of this mean for the third round of the FA Cup? Sportsmail answers key questions about Man City's postponement
So what's the latest?
The trip from Manchester City to Everton marked the second Premier League game of the season to be postponed due to Covid-19.
After the news on Christmas Day that Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker tested positive for the virus, Sportsmail It is known that three of City's teams returned positive tests on Monday and the game at Goodison Park was canceled about five hours before kick-off.
There are doubts about City's ability to face Chelsea on Sunday and then Manchester United in next week's Carabao Cup semi-finals.
The city's training grounds will be temporarily closed while more understanding is gained with the recent Christmas breakout.
On Christmas Day, Gabriel was confirmed to isolate Jesus (pictured) and Kyle Walker
Further tests are planned in City today to gain control of the outbreak and stop it from spreading further by players and staff.
"After the last round of Covid-19 tests, the club returned a number of positive cases in addition to the four cases reported on Christmas Day," said a city statement.
& # 39; With the safety of the bladder compromised, there was a risk that the virus could spread further through the cadre, staff, and possibly beyond.
& # 39; Following strong medical advice, the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, has decided to postpone the game (Everton). In all positive cases in which players and staff are involved, a period of self-isolation in accordance with the PL and government protocol on quarantine will be observed. "
What does it take to stop football?
A full shutdown, as happened back in March when the nation was first hit by Covid-19, is unlikely.
However, due to the increasing infection rate, supporters could again be kept away, even though they had just returned in small numbers in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas.
Secretary of State for Sport Oliver Dowden said after the Stage 4 announcement that elite sport could continue behind closed doors and that it is expected to continue.
It is difficult to answer but if positive cases soon hit the clubs, the Premier League could face very difficult decisions.
I thought 14 or more players mean NO shifts?
According to the rules of the Premier League, games should take place when there are 14 players available in a club, including a goalkeeper.
Before the start of the 2020/21 season, it was made clear to the clubs that under 23-year-olds who had played first-team games should be included as part of the 14 to avoid postponing the games.
The Premier League is keen to end the season on time to avoid problems with the broadcasters – like the 2019-20 project restart – but is unwilling to compromise security to do so.
The Premier League can then make a judgment?
With the nation seeing new daily highs for registered cases and the number of deaths from Covid-19 rising, the league is committed to avoiding unnecessary risks and risks.
The decision to postpone the trip from City to Goodison Park was based on medical advice and was seen as a precautionary measure to prevent contamination of Everton's squad.
Even if the rules say no game should be postponed when 14 players are eligible, the Premier League can handle games on a case-by-case basis, as it did on Monday night after an emergency meeting.
Has that happened before?
Once before this season, Newcastle's trip to Aston Villa was postponed after an outbreak in Steve Bruce's roster.
Positive cases hit double digits at the North East Club and on December 1st it was decided to postpone a trip to Villa Park.
The clubs operate strict bladders for the first team, and if an infection gets into the bladder it can spread quickly.
The club had concerns that if they had traveled and stayed at Villa for the Friday night game, cases would have increased.
So City's postponement is only the second Premier League game this season to be postponed due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Newcastle had a squad breakout earlier this month with Jamaal Lascelles (left) and Allan Saint-Maximin (right) confirmed to be suffering from the effects of Long Covid
Are positive test scores increasing across the league?
The latest numbers show the largest weekly return on positive Covid-19 results in the Premier League since testing began.
The week of November 9-15 was the worst for testing positive with 16 out of 1,207 people tested for Covid-19. However, in the week of December 20-27, that was beaten with 18 players and staff found positive for the virus.
There were 14 cases in the first week of December when Newcastle saw the game postponed.
In contrast, there were only 30 positive cases out of around 35,000 tests performed during the project restart, so the increase remains significant.
The clubs are taking strict measures to prevent players and staff from contracting the virus. However, the increase in national cases as well as the new tribe have been a cause for concern in the major league.
More testing the answer?
Sportsmail Last week it was exclusively announced that clubs in Tier 4 areas would return to twice-weekly tests for players and staff. It now appears that clubs across the division, regardless of level, will be returning to twice-weekly testing.
When a mutant strain of the virus was discovered, it was decided to double the number of weekly tests in problem areas of the country as an extra precaution.
After their outbreak earlier this month, Newcastle had funded more tests once a week beyond those required by the league.
In Tier 4, which affects London, the southeast and east of England, stricter measures have been taken to deal with the surge in cases and teams in those areas test more frequently afterward to avoid a swarm of positive tests.
Clubs in tier 4 areas like Chelsea have returned to twice-weekly Covid-19 testing
Can fans expect further postponements?
It is difficult to say as the situation can swing one way or another very quickly.
The postponement of City in Everton and the subsequent closure of the training ground make a game against Chelsea highly unlikely, although no official decision has been made on the league as to whether it will proceed as planned.
Guardiola's side already have a busy schedule but could have to cut seven games to 16 days in May if the calendar is further delayed.
Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes has tested positive and is in isolation but it is unknown if there has been a major outbreak among his teammates and first-team staff.
The city's sudden outbreak will put the rest of the league on alert and headed for what is expected to be a tough January.
CITY FORTIFICATIONS BY APRIL
January 3 – Chelsea v Man City
January 6 – Man United v Man City (Carabao Cup)
10. January – Man City against Birmingham (FA Cup)
13th January – Man City v Brighton
January 17th – Man City v crystal palace
23/24 January – FA Cup fourth round
January 26 – West Brom v Man City
January 30th – Man City v Sheffield United
February 2 – Burnley v Man City
February 6 – Liverpool v Man City
10-11 February – FA Cup fifth round
13th February – Man City v Tottenham
February 20 – Arsenal v Man City
February 24 – Borussia Mönchengladbach v Man City (Champs Lge)
27th of February – Man City v West Ham
6th March – Man City v Man United
March 13 – Fulham v Man City
March 16 – Man City v Borussia Mönchengladbach (Champs Lge)
March, 20th – Man City v wolves
* Fixtures to be rearranged: Man City versus Aston Villa, Everton versus Man City
What about the EFL … and the FA Cup?
In a word: chaos.
Rochdale's next two League One games have been postponed, while Morecambe and Doncaster Rovers have also been postponed.
Rotherham, on the other hand, will play his championship game with Barnsley on Tuesday to avoid a possible point deduction.
Rochdale Club Doctor Dr. Wes Tensel said BBC Radio 5Live on Tuesday: "Moving on isn't the smartest thing for the season."
Chelsea are already about to face City and Morecambe, the FA Cup third round opponent, are in the midst of a shift following a breakout, casting doubt on the Cup balance.
Rochdale's next two Sky Bet League One games have been postponed due to coronavirus
"We'll see how the position is," said Lampard. “It is a key time and a hard time and we felt that Tier 4 and the surge in Covid was going to happen.
& # 39; From our point of view, I'll find out more over the next day or two to make sure it's safe for the two teams. If not, the (city) game will not continue.
“If we don't play these games (City and Morecambe) we will keep working. I'm not surprised because the way Covid is in the UK is difficult for everyone and football is not very different. So we just have to see what the Premier League is up to, but safety will come first. & # 39;
The FA Cup is viewed as an elite sporting event and while it is expected to go as planned, there are concerns that teams from different divisions are mixing up as cases increase.
Eight Premier League clubs are in the lower division and there is an appetite for the Covid-19 protocol to be rolled out on this site to protect both players and staff.
Morecambe's upcoming games against Bolton and Bradford have also been postponed
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