Premier League coronavirus Old TraffordGetty/Goal composite

Premier League announces record number of Covid positive cases since weekly testing began

The Premier League has announced the highest number of Covid-19 cases since weekly testing began, with 18 people testing positive including several at Sheffield United.

English football has had to adjust to the presence of coronavirus since returning from lockdown in June. Supporters have been largely unable to attend matches due to strict social distancing protocols, while players have been required to undergo weekly medical checks.

Any squad or staff members testing positive for the virus have been forced to observe a 10-day quarantine period, with a number of high-profile stars missing a significant portion of the 2020-21 campaign as a result.

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Newcastle's Premier League clash with Aston Villa had to be called off at the start of December following an outbreak at the Magpies' training ground, and top-flight officials had to take the same steps to contain the spread of the illness on Monday night.

Everton's meeting with Manchester City was called off hours before kick-off after the Citizens reported a spike of positive cases.

Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker missed City's Boxing Day win over Newcastle after contracting the virus, while the club also reported that two members of staff had been sent into self-isolation.

The Etihad Campus training ground was closed at the start of the week, leaving City's upcoming fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester United in major doubt.

The Premier League has now revealed coronavirus numbers at clubs across the division have reached a new peak, with official figures published on their website on Tuesday.

"The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 21 December and Sunday 27 December, 1,479 players and club staff were tested for Covid-19," a statement released by the organisation reads. "Of these, there were 18 new positive tests. Players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

"The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing."

Sheffield United subsequently confirmed that several of the positive cases were at their club, however their Premier League clash with Burnley on Tuesday evening would still go ahead.

A statement on the club website read: "Sheffield United can confirm the club recorded a number of positive coronavirus tests after the latest round of testing. Due to medical confidentiality the club will not be revealing the names of those who have been affected.

"The individuals who have tested positive have now entered into a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and government guidelines. Everyone at Sheffield United would like to extend our best wishes to our colleagues and wish them a speedy recovery."

Several fixtures in the English Football League (EFL) have also been postponed over the festive period, with a total of seven games cancelled on Monday.