The Premier League has recorded the highest number of positive Covid cases since testing began in the summer.
The latest figures reveal 28 new positive tests have been recorded from the week beginning December 28 – a rise of 10 from the preview week.
And in further tests last weekend, from January 1 – 3, there were 12 new positive cases.
The latest numbers come ahead of the FA Cup third round, when all top flight sides will be in action, with some of them taking on lower league opponents at clubs where testing has been less regular.
The rising number of cases will also pile pressure on the football authorities to consider a circuit break in the season due to the nationwide spike in the pandemic that has caused the nation to be placed in lockdown again.
Top flight managers remain split on whether or not the current campaign should be suspended, with three games postponed last week alone following an increase in positive cases at clubs.
But despite the worrying trend in rising cases of the virus, the Premier League remain convinced their protocols continue to work.
Top flight players are being tested every 72 hours and a league spokesperson said: "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.
"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."
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