Manchester City have confirmed that the duo of Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus have tested positive for the coronavirus disease.
Two members of the club’s staff, whose identities have not been revealed, have also tested positive.
Defender Walker and striker Jesus now look set to miss City’s Premier League matches against Newcastle, Everton and Chelsea, with a return possible for their Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United on January 6.
“All four personnel will now observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine,” City said in a statement released on Friday morning.
“Everyone at the club wishes our colleagues a speedy recovery over the Christmas period ahead of their return to work, training and competition.”
The positive tests, announced on Christmas Day, come as the UK faces a surge in coronavirus cases, with the 39,036 confirmed on Thursday marking the second highest daily total since the pandemic began.
The figure brought the total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 2,188,587.
Premier League clubs under Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions, the number of which is set to increase on Boxing Day, have said they will start conducting tests twice a week – up from the previous single check – as soon as it is practically possible to do so.
From next month the increased testing will be widened out to clubs in lower-tier areas, which would currently include Manchester, with the city in Tier 3.