West Brom manager Sam Allardyce has backed calls for a "circuit break" after the Premier League returned its highest number of positive coronavirus tests this season.
After it emerged on Tuesday that representatives of some top-flight clubs had proposed a two-week 'cooling off' period, Allardyce insisted it was the "right thing" to cope with the outbreak.
Between December 21 and 27, the League tested 1,479 players and club staff and 18 tested positive, eclipsing the previous highest number of cases, 16 during the week of November 9-15.
And after seeing his side thumped 5-0 by Leeds on Tuesday night, the former England boss was quizzed on whether the season should be brought to a temporary halt.
He said: "Everyone's safety is more important than anything else.
"When I listen to the news the variant virus transmits quicker than the original virus we can only do the right thing which is have a circuit break.
"I am 66 years old and the last thing I want to do it catch Covid. I'm very concerned for myself and football in general. If that's what needs to be done we need to do it.
"We had one positive this week and it seems to be creeping around no matter how hard we try."
Meanwhile, it is understood that Fulham have also recorded a number of positive tests and Wednesday's London derby at Tottenham is dependent on the results of the players and staff at Craven Cottage who are yet to receive their results.
Manchester City began retesting their squad on Tuesday in the hope they have acted quickly enough to prevent a widespread outbreak of the disease after their Monday game at Everton was called off at short notice due to a number of positive cases, while Arsenal confirmed on Monday that Brazilian defender Gabriel had tested positive for the virus.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl did not attend his side's match with West Ham following a positive test in his household.
A Premier League statement read: "The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 21 December and Sunday 27 December, 1,479 players and Club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, there were 18 new positive tests.
"Players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.
"The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing."
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