The Premier League has introduced new Covid-19 measures for clubs within Tier 4 boundaries amid a worrying rise in cases across London and the south east.
A new strain of the virus has seen millions of people plunged into a fresh lockdown, with the Premier League’s six London clubs each in Tier 4 areas.
Now, those sides will test players twice a week – or every 72 hours – in what has been labelled ‘an additional precaution’, report the Daily Mail.
The move is set to be rolled out across all 20 top-flight sides following the Christmas period amid fears the new variant of the virus could become widespread in other areas of the country.
Several clubs have succumbed to outbreaks of the virus in recent weeks, with Premier League Newcastle, Championship Millwall and League One Ipswich, Peterborough and Sunderland all seeing matches called off as players and staff have been required to self-isolate.
Ipswich’s next two league games have been postponed after manager Paul Lambert and five members of the playing staff tested positive for what has now been identified as the new strain of the virus.
Club physio Matt Byard has called on the EFL to introduce a ‘football circuit breaker’ in order to postpone all matches and get squads back up to full health.
“I know the EFL are looking at bringing in extra measures, with maybe more testing for example,” he told the East Anglian Daily Times.
“I have always supported routine testing to secure a return to playing programme.
“Personally, with so many clubs affected by this presently and this new strain development, football may benefit from a ‘circuit breaker’ before a return to playing securely.”