Premier League announce record number of Covid cases

Tim Krul announced he had tested positive for Covid ahead of Norwich City's Boxing Day defeat to Arsenal

Tim Krul announced he had tested positive for Covid ahead of Norwich City's Boxing Day defeat to Arsenal - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The Premier League has confirmed 103 new coronavirus cases among club players and staff, the highest weekly number recorded since testing figures began being circulated in May last year.

Norwich City's Premier League game at West Ham prior to Christmas was called off, due to an escalating number of Covid-related absences and injuries that left the depleted Canaries unable to fulfil the fixture.

That came after they sought guidance from the league regarding players showing symptoms but yet to return positive test results ahead of the 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on December 14.

City are believed to have had seven Covid cases around that postponed Hammers' fixture, with Tim Krul the latest announced by the player himself on the eve of the Boxing Day defeat to Arsenal.

Premier League clubs met recently to discuss the impact of rising case numbers, with guidance from the league they should look to fulfil festive fixtures if they have 13 fit outfield players, plus a goalkeeper.

City's away game at West Ham was one of six top flight fixtures postponed over that weekend. Another three were postponed on Boxing Day, with Wolves' scheduled trip to Arsenal on Tuesday, and Leeds United's fixture against Aston Villa, already called off.

Norwich are scheduled to head to Crystal Palace, who will be without their head coach Patrick Vieira who is currently self-isolating after returning a positive test result ahead of his side's trip to Tottenham on Boxing Day.

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The Premier League has instructed clubs to increase testing to daily lateral flow and twice-weekly PCR tests.

A statement on Monday read: "The league can today confirm that between Monday 20 December and Sunday 26 December, 15,186 Covid-19 tests were administered on players and club staff. Of these, there were 103 new positive cases.

"The Premier League's Covid-19 emergency measures include protocols such as wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing, limiting treatment time, as well as the increased testing.

"The league is continuing to work with clubs to keep people safe by helping mitigate the risks of Covid-19 within their squads.

"We are also liaising closely with the government, local authorities and supporter groups, while being responsive to any future changes to national or local guidance."

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