Aston Villa became the fourth Premier League club to suffer a coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, adding to growing concerns over whether English football’s top-flight can complete the season on schedule.
Villa were forced to cancel training and close their training ground after two rounds of testing returned multiple positive cases of Covid-19 among players and staff.
Britain is battling a highly infectious strain of the virus which has forced a new nationwide lockdown after cases soared in recent days.
“A large number of first-team players and staff returned positive tests after being routinely tested on Monday and immediately went into isolation,” Villa said in a statement.
“A second round of testing was carried out immediately and produced more positive results today.”
“Discussions are ongoing between medical representatives of the club, the Football Association and the Premier League.”
Premier League Southampton’s FA Cup home match against Shrewsbury has already been postponed because there have been a number of positive cases at the League One club.
On Tuesday, a record high of 40 positive tests were detected among Premier League players and staff in the week between December 28 and January 3.
Three Premier League matches were postponed last week due to outbreaks at Manchester City and Fulham.
Due to the late end to last season, the league is less than halfway through the 2020/21 campaign.
Despite the rising case numbers and calls from some within the game for a circuit breaker to buy time and bring infection rates down, the Premier League has so far been adamant that the season will proceed.