Premier League says record 103 players and staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week

Wristbands are handed out as soccer fans have their COVID-19 status checked by stewards as they arrive for the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. (Photo by Rui Vieira via CFP)
Wristbands are handed out as soccer fans have their COVID-19 status checked by stewards as they arrive for the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. (Photo by Rui Vieira via CFP)

A record 103 players and staff in the English Premier League tested positive for COVID-19 last week, an increase from 90 cases recorded the previous week.

The increase in infections comes as the United Kingdom is battling a surge in new cases amid the emergence of the omicron variant.

Since the start of December, 15 Premier League games have been postponed after various clubs reported outbreaks.

Over the weekend, Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard and his Crystal Palace counterpart Patrick Vierra tested positive for the disease.

The outbreaks sparked calls for the top flight to take a break until January to allow clubs deal with their outbreaks.

The Premier League Board however said it assesses applications to postpone matches on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and adapted COVID-19 postponement guidance introduced to clubs in light of the new Omicron variant.