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05 January 2022

Premier League drops twice-weekly PCR testing for Covid-19 on players and staff

05 January 2022

The Premier League is dropping twice-weekly PCR testing for Covid-19 on all players and staff, the PA news agency understands.

From Thursday clubs will continue to conduct daily lateral flow tests (LFTs) on training days but PCR tests will only be taken to confirm a positive lateral flow result.

The move away from routine PCR testing is understood to have been made completely independently of the change in the Government’s approach to testing and isolation.

The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) announced on Wednesday that from January 11 an asymptomatic individual who tested positive for Covid-19 on an LFT would no longer need to take a PCR test to confirm the result, and that their period of isolation would begin on the date of the positive LFT.

The league will adopt the new rules on isolation for asymptomatic individuals when they come into force, rather than starting the isolation period when the result of the follow-up PCR is known.

On December 14, the Premier League introduced the requirement for daily lateral flow testing and twice-weekly PCR tests to combat the threat posed by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

Prior to that, clubs had been conducting twice-weekly lateral flow tests and only using PCRs to confirm positive cases.

The league announced on Monday that 14,250 Covid-19 tests were administered on players and club staff between December 27 and January 2, out of which 94 (0.65 per cent) were positive.

This was the first decrease in eight weeks, with 103 positives recorded the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Football Association has revealed plans to start providing weekly updates on the number of players who have tested positive for coronavirus in the top two tiers of women’s football.

Last season the FA shared weekly figures of those who had contracted the virus in the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship and following tests conducted between December 28 and January 3 on players from the two divisions, there were 40 positive test results recorded.

The WSL returns this weekend following a three-week winter break but West Ham’s scheduled match at home to Manchester United has been postponed due to “a number of suspected positive Covid-19 cases” among players and staff at the London club.

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