The English Premier League (EPL) says 18 players and staff have tested positive for COVID-19, the highest number since weekly testing began.
That figure beat the previous highest figure recorded of 16 for November 9-15.
In a statement on Tuesday, the league said the positive cases would self-isolate for 10 days.
“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,” the league said.
“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.”
Recall that Manchester City’s clash at Everton was postponed on Monday after an outbreak of multiple positive cases at City.
The club closed their training ground for an “indeterminate period”. They said further testing on players and staff would take place before it can reopen.
The Everton-City postponement was just the second time that an EPL game has been called off due to COVID-19 since the 2019/20 season resumed in June.
Aston Villa’s clash with Newcastle earlier this month was postponed due to an outbreak at Newcastle’s training ground.
It’s not clear yet whether City’s clash away at Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday would go ahead. The club are also expected to face Manchester United in the League Cup semi-finals on January 6.
The latest development has prompted fears that the league might experience another shutdown like the three-month stoppage between March and June earlier this year.
However, the Premier League has insisted that the protocols put in place are still stringent enough to prevent such situation.
“The Premier League continues to have full confidence in its protocols and rules, and the way in which all clubs are implementing them,” the body said in a statement on Monday.