Premier League return record number of positive Covid-19 tests, with Sheffield United amongst clubs hit by virus

A total of 40 positive coronavirus cases were discovered over two rounds of Premier League testing in late December and early January – including “a number” at Sheffield United.

Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 4:12 pm

The league announced its latest figures earlier this afternoon which showed that of 1,311 players and club staff tested between December 28 and 31, 28 came back positive for Covid-19.

In tests on 984 players and staff carried out between January 1 and 3 there were a further 12 positives, the league said.

It is understood the bulk of the positives relate to the three postponed fixtures over the period involving Manchester City and Fulham, while “a number” of Blades players and backroom staff returned positive tests ahead of United’s fixture at Burnley a week ago.

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All those who tested positive must self-isolate for 10 days.

It is understood the second round of testing featured a smaller group of players and staff than usual because it took place over a weekend, when some teams were involved in matches.

The Premier League said in a statement confirming the new figures: "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."

The league is understood to have held conversations with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden following the announcement of a new national lockdown on Monday night, in which the minister expressed support for the measures being taken and gave his backing for elite sport to continue.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images