10:18 GMT27 January 2021
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    Earlier this week, warnings were issued for the UK government to consider introducing tighter coronavirus lockdown rules to avert a surge in deaths from a new strain of the disease. This came as several Premier League matches were postponed amid a record number of positive COVID-19 tests among staff and players.

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has expressed confidence that the English Premier League (EFL) can continue without implementing the “circuit-breaker” lockdown aimed at curbing an increase in COVID-19 cases in clubs. The EFL is the top level of the English football league system.

    “I think the competition can go on. And it’s also important it goes on. People want to watch it and, in this case, we are not part of society”, Klopp told reporters on Friday.

    He added that Liverpool goes to the training ground and “stuff like that but usually we isolate” and “try to do everything to keep the boys as safe as possible so I think we really can carry on”.

    “We all try to do our best to keep the competition going. I think it works well for everybody but I’m not a [medical] specialist and I will respect all the decisions made in the next few weeks,” the Liverpool boss underscored, in an apparent reference to anti-coronavirus measures carried out by the government.

    Klopp added that the rise in COVID-19 infections in the Premier League had not come as a surprise to him.

    “We knew before the winter there would probably be a second wave [of the coronavirus]. It’s a challenge when it is about self-isolation so I am not surprised that the numbers have gone up slightly in football,” he pointed out.

    The remarks came after a whole array of Premier League matches, including those involving Fullham, Everton and Manchester City, were postponed amid the rising numbers of coronavirus cases at clubs.

    UK Facing 'Near Lockdown', Government Adviser Warns

    In a separate development this week, Andrew Hayward, a leading epidemiologist who sits on the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said in an interview with the BBC that tougher COVID-19 restrictions are needed to contain the disease.

    “We’re entering a new dangerous phase of the pandemic and we’re going to need decisive, early, national action to prevent a catastrophe in January and February. A 50 percent increase in transmissibility means that the previous levels of restrictions that worked before won’t work now and so Tier 4 restrictions are likely to be necessary or even higher than that,” he stressed.

    He said that the current situation suggested the UK might be staring at a “near lockdown”, adding that lessons should be learned from the previous restriction measures.

    Hayward spoke as health experts have been warning of the potential dangers of the new coronavirus strain, first registered in the UK, which a British study claims is at least 50 percent more contagious that the preexisting variant of the COVID-19.

    Millions more Britons are reportedly set to face the highest Tier 4 level of restrictions, which were earlier slapped on those leaving in London and southeast England.

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    Tags:
    COVID-19, coronavirus, lockdown, Premier League, Liverpool FC, Jurgen Klopp, Britain
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