Premier League announces 36 new coronavirus cases

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Liverpool are joint-top at the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur, following their 3-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday.

The Premier League has announced 36 new coronavirus cases among players and staff at top-flight clubs.

Results were released on Monday following two rounds of testing carried out between January 4 and 10; those found to be positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

The number is a slight decrease on the 40 coronavirus cases which were discovered between December 28 and January 3.

A twice-weekly testing programme has been introduced amid a rise in coronavirus numbers across the United Kingdom, leading to the competition putting enhanced protocols in place.

The Premier League earlier revealed changes to the upcoming fixture schedule following a coronavirus outbreak at Aston Villa.

Tottenham were due to travel to Villa Park on Wednesday, but their opponents requested a new date due to their players and staff either testing positive or being placed in isolation.

Instead, Spurs are to host Fulham on the same day. The London clubs had previously been due to meet on December 30, only for that game to be postponed following a spike in cases at Craven Cottage.

“With the health of players and staff the priority, the league continues to work with Aston Villa on measures to ensure their league season resumes safely and at the earliest opportunity,” a statement from the Premier League read on Monday.

“The Premier League wishes those with Covid-19 a full and swift recovery and will rearrange Aston Villa’s game against Tottenham Hotspur as soon as possible.”

With coronavirus cases soaring in the UK, and the government looking for football to set an example, the Premier League has toughened its stance.

As well as the twice-weekly testing programme, the league has said substitutes must wear face masks on the bench, players and staff to avoid hugging, handshakes and swapping shirts, spot checks on dressing rooms to ensure social distancing, limiting the number of people allowed at training grounds and clubs to provide the Premier League with detailed travel plans.

The government and the governing bodies have held talks and there are reportedly no imminent plans to halt football, but there were concerns among members of the cabinet by the celebrations of teams – and lack of social distancing – during the FA Cup third round at the weekend.

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