West Brom head coach Sam Allardyce believes the Premier League should be temporarily halted after a record number of positive coronavirus results in a single round of tests this season.
On Tuesday the Premier League confirmed 18 new positive coronavirus tests in the week commencing December 21.
The news came just a day after Manchester City’s game at Everton was postponed at four hours’ notice due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the Etihad Stadium, while Fulham’s match against Tottenham on Wednesday is also in doubt.
Eighteen positive cases surpasses the previous high of 16 recorded in the week commencing November 9, and mirrors the wider situation in England, with more people now in hospital due to the virus than at the peak of the first wave in April.
Allardyce, whose side suffered a thumping 5-0 defeat to Leeds United on Tuesday, has called for action to be taken swiftly to prevent more people contracting the virus.
“I’m very concerned for myself and football in general,” Allardyce said. “Everyone’s safety is more important than anything else.
“When I listen to the news that the variant virus transmits quicker than the original virus, we can only do the right thing, which is to have a circuit break [a tight set of restrictions designed to reverse the tide of the pandemic].
“I am 66 years old and the last thing I want to do is catch COVID-19.
“As much as we’re getting tested – we had one positive this week – it seems to be creeping around. No matter how hard we try, no matter how many times we get tested, how we wear our masks, how we sanitise our hands, we’re still catching a lot of infections around the country.
“If that helps [circuit breaker], let’s do it and let the season run a little longer when we get through it.”