By Vasco Cotovio, CNN
The English Premier League has reported a record 103 Covid-19 cases in the week leading up to Boxing Day.
“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,” the Premier League said in a statement on Monday. “Of these, there were 103 new positive cases.”
The 103 cases are an increase on the previous week — Dec 13-19 — when 90 players and staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“The safety of everyone is a priority and the Premier League is taking all precautionary steps in response to the impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19,” the statement added.
“The League has reverted to its Emergency Measures, and has increased testing of players and club staff to daily lateral flow and twice-weekly PCR tests, having previously carried out lateral-flow testing twice a week.”
In addition to the increased testing, the emergency measures employed by the Premier League include protocols requiring faces masks to be worn indoors, mandatory social distancing and limiting treatment time.
“The League is continuing to work with clubs to keep people safe by helping mitigate the risks of COVID-19 within their squads,” the statement added.
Games called off
The League said it was releasing the case numbers in the interest of transparency and competition integrity but added it would not be releasing the names of the players and teams where the diagnoses had taken place.
On Sunday, the Premier League announced the postponement of the match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton on December 28 due to a mix of Covid-19 issues and injuries in the Wolves squad.
The fixture is the second that Wolves have had postponed after their Boxing Day mach with Watford was also called off due to the virus.
Earlier on Sunday, Leeds United’s game against Aston Villa match on Tuesday was another postponement confirmed by the Premier League.
So far this season, 15 Premier League games have been called off due to Covid-19 issues.
The United Kingdom has seen a sharp rise in Covid-19, reporting a record 122,186 cases on Friday, the highest daily number since start of the pandemic, according to government data.
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Homero De La Fuente contributed to this report