Premier League clubs have recorded 36 positive tests for the coronavirus in the latest round of testing among players and staff.
Some 2,593 tests were performed between January 4 and 10 and the infection rate was 1.39%.
Top clubs have been tested twice a week for Covid since the start of the year and the latest figures compare to a season high of 40 positive tests last week from 2,295 tests. An infection rate of 1.7%.
The latest estimate for the infection rate in the general population is 2.06%, although the rate among the youngest, aged 18 to 35, tends to be around 3%.
Aston Villa have fielded a squad of U23 and U18 players in FA Cup due to Covid outbreak
The current set of findings comes as football battles to stem the spread of the new strain of coronavirus, which appears to have increased the level of infections in the Premier League and the English Football League.
Five Premier League games have now been postponed due to Covid outbreaks in clubs, the most recent being Aston Villa’s game against Tottenham Hotspur, which is due to be played at Villa Park on Wednesday, January 13.
In the FA Cup this weekend, Aston Villa lined up a team of U23 and U18 players to play Liverpool because the coronavirus had affected a number of players for a game they lost 4-1 at Villa Park.
Top clubs known to have been affected by coronavirus cases include Manchester City, Fulham, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Burnley, as well as Villa, and on Monday Chelsea announced an outbreak of the virus in their academy, although this did not affect the players of the first team.
Premier League fixture between Villa and Tottenham has now been postponed due to Covid
The latest results come as the UK announced another 573 coronavirus deaths yesterday, the biggest increase on Sunday since April.
Infections also continue to be high, with 54,940 reported yesterday – the 13th day in a row, they have passed the 50,000 mark.
The Premier League has taken action to reduce the spread of the virus in the game. In addition to introducing tests twice a week, more stringent protocols were unveiled Friday with immediate effect.
The new measures include:
- Substitutes for wearing face masks on the bench
- Players and staff avoid hugging, shaking hands and swapping shirts
- Ad hoc checks of locker rooms to ensure that social distancing rules are respected
- Limited number of people allowed on training grounds and limited access to canteens
- Clubs to provide Premier League travel plans
The focus on football’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has never been greater.
Three Spurs stars and one West Ham player (identified above) broke rules for partying despite Covid-19 restrictions in place over Christmas time
Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic (left) was seen breaking Covid rules at a New Year’s party with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic (right)
HOW THE PREMIER LEAGUE STARS BREAKED THE RULES
Tottenham Sergio Reguilon, Erik Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso were fined and held accountable after being pictured in a large group photo alongside West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini and their families on Christmas Day.
Manchester City say they are investigating after Benjamin mendy hosted a New Years Eve party that included guests from outside her home. He was a substitute in City’s next game.
Crystal Palace and Fulham launch investigations into Aleksandar Mitrovic and Luka Milivojevic after they were pictured partying together – but Palace have lined up the midfielder as captain in their next game.
The high-profile violations of social distancing rules over Christmas and New Years by players from five top club clubs have sparked controversy.
And players who fail to observe social distancing on the pitch during goal celebrations have also raised concerns.
Widespread and exuberant after-goal celebrations and in Chorley and Crawley’s dressing rooms over the weekend caused more concern and led to further calls to suspend football.
The scenes prompted the government to tell football authorities to take a firmer line on Covid rule violations and the FA has been ready to write to clubs reminding them of their responsibilities.
Any new offense should result in more severe penalties.
In the EFL, the first full round of testing since November has revealed 112 positive Covid tests out of a total of 3,507 players and staff from 66 clubs, an infection rate of 3.19%.
Only three clubs accounted for 35 cases.
The EFL has also issued stricter protocols for clubs and has partnered with the Professional Footballers Association to provide twice-weekly testing using lateral flow devices, which are less accurate but much faster. and cheaper than the PCR tests used in the Premier League.
Spurs players ran to young Alfie Devine when he scored at Marine in the FA Cup
Ministers want to keep football as they recognize the benefits elite sport brings to grassroots activity and realize that the game attracts many people to Britain.
It is not believed that there is an immediate threat to football, but the Christmas incidents followed by FA Cup scenes make viewing uncomfortable for ministers arguing that the continuation of the game does more good than harm.
The government is keenly aware of the financial impact of the suspension of gambling, not only at the elite level, but the ripple effect it would have on the grassroots, which benefit financially from the higher levels.
In addition, in a dark period, football is a valuable source of interest and entertainment for millions of people.
Sportsmail understands that for the government, the balance between the benefits of pursuing elite gaming always outweighs the negative impact of players breaking social distancing rules. Ministers remain confident in the Covid protocols for sport, but want them to be applied more effectively.
Crawley Town also celebrated on and off the pitch after a remarkable win against Leeds United
But for some, football has already passed a point of no return. Former FA president and respected figure in the game, David Bernstein, has reiterated his concern over the continuation of football.
“Images of players celebrating and hugging on the pitch under these unique circumstances undermines the social distancing message, which is extremely dangerous,” he told The Telegraph. “It adds to the reasons why I think football should be suspended. “
Meanwhile, Watford forward Troy Deeney has claimed footballers cannot stop breaking Covid’s new rules because it is in their “nature” to kiss their teammates during goal celebrations, and the Watford forward has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to shut down the sport.
Troy Deeney (left) called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) to stop football
“Unless the government or the governing bodies step in and say, ‘You can’t do that, you can’t do that,’ then it comes down to what’s morally right, ” Deeney told talkSPORT .
‘You can’t stop people from leaving [on holiday], you can’t stop people from playing football and naturally hugging your teammate who helped you – it’s something we’ve been doing for years.
“At the end of the day it’s up to the powers that be to stop football, and it doesn’t matter if it continues in June and July like last year, or if we talk about it week after week when people are making errors. “
PREMIER LEAGUE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS FOR THE 2020-21 SEASON
Tour 1: August 31-September 6 – 1,605 tested, including three positive.
2ème round: September 7-13 – 2,131 tested, including four positive.
3e tour: From September 14 to 20 – 1,574 tested, including three positive.
Tour 4: September 21-27 – 1,595 tested, including 10 positive.
Tour 5: September 28-October 4 – 1587 tested, including nine positive.
6th manche: October 5-11 – 1128 tested, including five positive.
Round 7: October 12-18 – 1575 tested, including eight positive.
Round 8: October 19-25 – 1,609 tested, including two positive.
Day 9: October 26 to November 1 – 1,446 tests, including four positive.
Tour 10: 2-8 November – 1646 tested, including four positive.
Day 11: From November 9 to 15 – 1,207 tested, including 16 positive.
Round 12: November 16-22 – 1530 tested, including eight positive.
Day 13: 23-29 November – 1,381 tested, including 10 positive.
Day 14From November 30 to December 6 – 1,483 tests, including 14 positive.
Day 15: December 7-13 – 1,549 tested, including six positive.
Day 16: 14-20 December – 1569 tested, including seven positive
Day 17: 21-27 December – 1479 tested, including 18 positive
Round 18: December 28-January 3 – 2,295 tested, including 40 positive
Day 19January 4-January 10 – 2,593 tested, including 36 positive