Premiership records highest number of positive coronavirus cases this season

Premiership Rugby has confirmed 33 people from 10 different clubs have tested positive for coronavirus in their latest round of testing – the highest number this season.

A total of 951 players and staff from the 12 Premiership clubs were tested on Monday. The 33 positives were made up of 24 players and nine staff.

Those who tested positive, along with their close contacts, are now isolating.

A Premiership Rugby statement read: “Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union are providing this aggregated information for competition integrity and transparency for the second successive season.

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“No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided under any circumstances. The number of positive results will be made public after each round of testing.”

The latest number of positive tests for coronavirus in the Premiership is almost double the previous high of 18, recorded two weeks ago.

On Wednesday evening, London Irish’s Premiership match against Northampton, scheduled for January 3, was called off after Irish returned positive tests and therefore have players unavailable due to the Contact Tracing protocols.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: “Our priority is the health and safety of those who have tested positive and we will be giving London Irish all the support they need.

“We wish those who have tested positive a speedy and safe recovery.

“Neither Premiership Rugby nor the club will be naming any of the players or staff involved and we’d ask everyone to respect their privacy.”

Earlier, Harlequins’ Premiership fixture at Worcester, due to take place on Friday, was called off with the London side unable to field a full front row due to contact tracing protocols.

A Quins player returned a positive test following their Boxing Day defeat to Bristol, leading to six more players being forced to isolate for 10 days.

The club have stood all players down from training for a week to “minimise the use and possible contamination of the training facility, such is the need to protect the health and wellbeing of players and staff”.

A Premiership Rugby panel will determine the allocation of the points. Under current regulations, Worcester would be handed four and Quins two.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: “We would never cancel a match lightly, as we understand the consequences, but we will always put health and safety first.

“Neither Premiership Rugby nor the club will be naming any of the players or staff involved and we’d ask everyone to respect their privacy.”

The Worcester-Harlequins clash is the third to be called off in the Premiership this season after Covid outbreaks at Leicester and London Irish forced cancellations earlier this month.

Premiership Rugby Covid test results

  • Week 1: 967 tests, seven positives from three clubs
  • Week 2: 983 tests, three positives, one club
  • Week 3: 986 tests, zero positives
  • Week 4: 1,034 tests, three positives, two clubs
  • Week 5: 1,047, 18 positives, two clubs
  • Week 6: 967 tests, 12 positives, five clubs
  • Week 7: 951 tests, 33 positives, 10 clubs

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