The Premier League has recorded a record number of COVID-19 cases among players and staff members since the start of the pandemic, following two rounds of testing between December 28 and January 3. Although this surge in cases poses a threat to the soccer calendar, the Premier League remains confident that matches will proceed as scheduled.
In the latest rounds of testing, 2,295 coronavirus tests were administered, with 40 positive cases being detected. This is an increase of 18 positive cases from the previous week. What’s even more concerning for Premier League officials is the fact that this equals a total of 58 positive COVID cases in a two-week period; a stark increase from the 18 cases detected in the previous two-week period.
This news comes as the United Kingdom has been placed on a nationwide lockdown as a new, more transmissible strain of COVID-19 has begun to surge across the country. While professional sports are allowed to continue, the Premier League has been subject to match cancellations along with a coronavirus outbreak among the Fulham squad, which caused their game with Burnley to be called off.
The Premier League expressed its confidence in an official statement, explaining: “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.”