The Premier League confirmed on Tuesday, 5 January, 2021 that 40 players and staff have tested positive for coronavirus in the last two rounds of testing over the past week, but insisted the season will continue as planned.
That figure is more than double the previous record of 18 positive cases recorded last week and comes as England enters a nationwide lockdown to halt soaring infection rates.
Meanwhile, Premier League football and other forms of elite professional sports in England will be allowed to continue despite new national lockdown restrictions announced by the British government on Monday, 4 January, 2021.
Nearly 56 million people in England will return to a full coronavirus lockdown, possibly until mid-February, to try to cut spiralling infection rates, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address.
The measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, will come into effect Wednesday, 6 January, 2021 he said after Scotland announced similar measures to come into force from midnight (0000 GMT) on Tuesday, 5 January, 2021.
But a list of exemptions published by the UK government allowed “elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) – or those on an official elite sports pathway – to compete and train”.