Manchester United’s Tuesday game versus Brentford is the latest of the Premier League fixtures to be postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak in the team camp. With some United players and staff returning positive tests post their game against Norwich, the English competition’s total case count has climbed to 42. 

After positive cases in the United camp, the Premier League accepted the club’s request to postpone the Brentford clash in London less than 24 hours before kickoff.

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“The decision was taken following guidance from medical advisers due to the exceptional circumstances of an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak within Manchester United’s squad,” the Premier League said in a statement late Monday.

“First team operations at the club’s Carrington Training Complex were closed down today to help control the outbreak and minimize risk of further infection among players and staff. The league wishes a quick recovery to those players and staff with COVID-19.”

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Last week, Tottenham Hotspur’s game versus Brighton was called off due to an outbreak in the North London club. Norwich and Aston Villa have also reported coronavirus cases at their clubs.

Cases within the West Brom camp, four defenders testing positive, saw their clash versus Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Monday postponed. 

The cases come amid growing concerns in Britain about the spread of the omicron variant, which has led to the reintroduction of some coronavirus restrictions.

The Premier League has emulated national regulations by asking for face masks to be worn again around clubs, while going further than the government by reintroducing social distancing. The frequency of testing on players and staff will also increase.

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“The safety of everybody is a priority and the Premier League is taking all precautionary steps in light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the country,” the competition said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with the government, local authorities and supporter groups, while being responsive to any future changes to national or local guidance.”

The government’s appeal for people to get booster vaccines against the coronavirus was backed on Monday by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who urged his staff and players to get jabbed.

“The doctors suggest that they have to do it,” Guardiola said. “Most of us have (had) it already. The players, for their age, the moment they have to do it, everybody is going to decide and they are going to do it.”

The league last provided details on vaccinations in October when it said only 68% of players had been jabbed twice and 81% had received at least one dose.

The Premier League has avoided a shutdown since the 100-day pause in the season from the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The 40 positive cases at the turn of 2021 was the previous highest number of infections at Premier League clubs in a week since testing started to be announced in May 2020.

With inputs from the Associated Press