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5 Jan, 2021 16:07

‘Stop it now’: Fears for season after Premier League reveals positive Covid-19 tests soar to record 40 as UK enters lockdown again

‘Stop it now’: Fears for season after Premier League reveals positive Covid-19 tests soar to record 40 as UK enters lockdown again

Fans have again rowed over whether the football season can continue in England after the Premier League announced that cases of Covid-19 had more than doubled in its latest round of testing, reflecting the spike across the UK.

Worries have escalated after a string of fixtures were called off over the past week, including title contenders Manchester City's trip to Everton and two fixtures involving Fulham, who have suffered an outbreak of the virus.

A new strain of the virus has sent diagnosis figures soaring nationally, and British prime minister Boris Johnson announced a third lockdown on Monday in a new bid to contain the crisis and ease the pressure on hospitals.

Now the Premier League has announced that 28 players and staff out of 1,311 tested returned positive tests in the last four days of December.

A further 12 positive cases were also identified from 984 tests over the weekend that followed.

Despite the league insisting that it "continues to have confidence" in its protocols, stating that it was "fully backed" by the government and pledging to rearrange its postponed fixtures, fans were emphatically unconvinced.

"This is rather high," said a Liverpool fan account, attracting predictable jibes about the potential benefits to the reigning champions' injury-hit squad of an enforced break.

Others joked about the high-profile transgressions of guidelines that brought shame upon several players over the festive period, including a Christmas party involving three Tottenham players.

Players, staff and officials have been advised to shun hand-shaking and hugging as part of heightened precautions about the spread of infections, according to The Telegraph.

The Premier League said that it would not be naming any of the infected individuals, adding that they would self-isolate for the usual 10-day timeframe.

Also on rt.com ‘It beggars belief’: Premier League stars blasted as ‘stupid and selfish’ for flouting Covid lockdown rules with Christmas party