Ninety Premier League players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week.
A record 12,345 tests were administered after the league 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.
Between December 13 and December 16 there were 49 new positive tests, while a further 41 were recorded across testing held between December 17 and 19.
“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,” the league said in a statement.
Last week, 42 Premier League players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 – previously the most recorded in the league over a seven-day period.
On Monday, Premier League clubs decided to fulfil festive fixtures rather than impose a circuit breaker despite disruption to the schedule over the last week.
“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,” the league added.
Six of this weekend’s 10 Premier League matches were postponed due to Covid-19 outbreaks at a number of clubs.
On Sunday, Chelsea said they were “deeply disappointed” their request for Sunday’s game at Wolves to be postponed was rejected by the Premier League.
The FA also took the “exceptional decision” to scrap replays in the FA Cup third and fourth rounds “to alleviate possibility of fixture congestion” amid the ongoing uncertainty caused by the virus.
The Premier League confirmed 77 per cent of players have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccination, while 16 per cent are yet to have their first jab.
The NHS reports that among 25 to 29-year-olds, 78.5 per cent have only received one dose of a vaccine. The average age of a Premier League player is 26.9.
Premier League Covid-19 test results this season
2 Aug-8 Aug 3,118 tested; 9 positive
9 Aug-15 Aug 3,231 tests; 11 positive
16 Aug-22 Aug 3,060 tests; 16 positive
23 Aug-29 Aug 3,020 tests; six positive
30 Aug-5 Sep 1,952 tests; two positive
6 Sep-12 Sep 3,039 tests; three positive
13 Sep-19 Sep 3,154 tests; two positive
20 Sep-26 Sep 3,010 tests; one positive
27 Sep-3 Oct 2,927 tests; four positive
4 Oct-10 Oct 1,696 tests; zero positive
11 Oct-17 Oct 3,044 tests; six positive
18 Oct-24 Oct 3,209 tests; four positive
25-31 Oct 3,006 tests; four positive
1-7 Nov 2,953 tests; three positive
8-14 Nov 1,647 tests; four positive
15-21 Nov 3,188 tests; six positive
22-28 Nov 3,379 tests; seven positive
29 Nov-5 Dec 3,154 tests; 12 positive
6-12 Dec 3,805 tests; 42 positive
13-19 Dec 12,345 tests; 90 positive – testing increased to daily lateral flow testing and twice-weekly PCR testing
What are the Premier League rules around postponements?
The 2021/22 Premier League handbook includes Covid protocols, and states the Premier League board will “only permit the rearrangement or postponement of a league match in exceptional circumstances”.
The board make calls on a case-by-case basis, and by way of guidance the Premier League says permission for a postponement will not be granted if a club have 14 or more players from their squad list available.
In a statement, the Premier League added it would “assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the Covid-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match.
“The board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club may come into contact with.”
Which Premier League games have been called off?
Brighton vs Tottenham – Sunday December 12, Premier League
Brentford vs Man Utd – Tuesday December 14, Premier League
Burnley vs Watford – Wednesday December 15, Premier League
Leicester vs Tottenham – Thursday December 16, Premier League
Man Utd vs Brighton – Saturday December 18, Premier League
Southampton vs Brentford – Saturday December 18, Premier League
Watford vs Crystal Palace – Saturday December 18, Premier League
West Ham vs Norwich – Saturday December 18, Premier League
Aston Villa vs Burnley – Saturday December 18, Premier League
Everton vs Leicester – Sunday December 19, Premier League