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COVID-19:Doctors want English Premier League stopped

The Premier League has announced 18 new positive COVID-19 tests among players and staff, the highest weekly total since Project Restart. The latest round of testing saw 1,479 players and staff tested and the results show a sharp increase on last week’s total a day after Manchester City’s trip to face Everton at Goodison Park was postponed due to an outbreak in City’s squad over the Christmas period.

Positive tests reported by City on Monday will not have been included in the latest results and so 13 cases have emerged at other clubs.

The increase in positive tests come as experts called for a postponement of all football to be seriously considered.

Rochdale team doctor Wesley Tensel believes serious consideration must be given to stopping the current campaign.

“These players are put under pressure to come out and perform when deep down they may have serious concerns – they’ve got young kids, they’ve got elderly family members,’ he told BBC Radio Five Live breakfast.

“At the end of the day these players are human like everyone else and it sometimes begs the question, should the season still be going on?

“Personally I think in the middle of a pandemic and the spread, the numbers are rising, and the fact we have these Tier 4 places where people can’t travel but footballers are able to go in and out, take things back to the family, it’s probably not the wisest thing at the moment.

“It’s probably controversial and there are other players, other doctors who would disagree.

“As well as a team doctor I am a GP and I have helped out on COVID wards so I am seeing both sides and it just seems there is a bigger picture going on.”

Other doctors at EFL clubs are believed to share his concerns.

In the top four divisions, nine matches yesterday were postponed due to outbreaks of the virus. Morecambe, who are due to play Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup, Doncaster Rovers and Rochdale have all seen multiple matches postponed due to the spread of the virus.

Southampton also confirmed that Ralph Hasenhuttl would not be in the dugout for their clash against West Ham yesterday after a member of the manager’s household tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

The Saints boss is set to manage the game from home via a video and audio link.

The outbreak at Ipswich last week prompted club physio Matt Byard to urge authorities to consider a ‘circuit breaker’ postponement to halt the spread.

Manager Paul Lambert tested positive for Covid-19 along with five players. General manager Lee O’Neill also tested positive.

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