The Premier League has announced 103 new cases of coronavirus among players and club staff, the highest weekly number recorded since test figures began to be released in May last year.

The league has also confirmed that it has returned to emergency measures following a series of high profile postponements.

Increased tests for daily lateral flow and bi-weekly PCR tests have been introduced. Lateral flow tests were previously done twice a week.

A scarf seller outside Old Trafford after a recent Manchester United game was postponed due to coronavirus (Anthony Devlin / PA)

“The League can now confirm that between Monday, December 20 and Sunday, December 26, 15,186 Covid-19 tests were administered to the players and staff of the club. Among these, there were 103 new positive cases, ”reads a press release.

The Premier League’s Covid-19 emergency measures include protocols such as wearing face coverings indoors, respecting social distancing, limiting treatment time, as well as increasing testing .

“The League continues to work with clubs to keep people safe by helping to mitigate the risks of Covid-19 within their teams.

“We also liaise closely with government, local authorities and fan groups, while being responsive to any future changes in national or local guidelines. “

League One AFC Wimbledon, meanwhile, called for clubs to be “responsible” for postponing matches for reasons related to the coronavirus.

The Dons’ request came after their games against Charlton and Portsmouth were postponed due to cases of Covid-19 opposition.

Matches at Burton, Harrogate, Salford and Scunthorpe were called off on Monday, bringing the number of postponements of the English Football League’s midweek schedule to 12.

In a firm letter to the EFL, AFC Wimbledon chief executive Joe Palmer wrote: “We are writing to openly express our disappointment at the recent spate of matches that member clubs have been unable to play. .

“We also want to take this opportunity to call on the EFL to undertake its due process and implement the strongest possible measures to ensure that – when a club are able to complete a game – they do so.

“Furthermore, when it is found that a club has not been able to complete a game, it must be held responsible for all decisions which have led to that position.”

Palmer, who urged the EFL to reintroduce the rule allowing clubs to make five substitutions per game, said the Dons had suffered ‘only’ 11 cases of Covid-19 since the Omicron variant became the predominant strain virus in London.

“It is no accident,” the statement added. “It is due to hard work and spending of resources that our club ultimately does not have at its disposal. It is the players who sacrifice their ability to spend time with their loved ones.

“The Christmas gatherings have been canceled and everyone at the club has played their part; the players should be really congratulated on their commitment.

“At a significant cost, we’ve been testing players twice a week since the start of the season. In the weeks leading up to the red zone protocols going into effect, we increased that number to three tests per week.

“We then moved on to the red zone protocols with daily testing during the week before the EFL announced these measures.

“The club isolated individuals and chose not to select players for the teams on match day.

“We made some very difficult decisions to manage our team, which probably led to a loss of competitiveness on the pitch.

“Training has been affected by the immediate withdrawal of our Under-23 and loan players from our training squad (due to the likelihood of exposure to Covid-19 at their out-of-league loan clubs). If we can make it all work – with such limited resources – then the rest should do the same. “

The Donations accept that they are not the only club to take these steps, although they recognize that others may have gone further.

But the club added: “It is just not fitting that after going beyond our means to ensure matches can go ahead, we will now be at a disadvantage – trying to navigate a very crowded second half of the season with a small squad. .

“In the meantime, clubs with larger squads will have the upper hand, having been given the opportunity to take a more relaxed approach knowing that there will be no penalty for conduct that does not follow protocols.”