An outbreak of further positive Covid-19 cases at Manchester City has forced their Premier League trip to Everton to be postponed just four hours before kick-off.

Three days after Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were among four individuals to return positive tests the club announced another round of testing had “returned a number of positive cases”.

City lodged a request to postpone the match on Monday morning with confirmation coming around 4pm after a hastily-arranged Premier League board meeting.

“With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond,” said a statement from City.

“Based on strong medical advice the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, has decided to postpone the fixture.”

The Premier League, in agreeing to the postponement, insisted the health of players and staff was paramount.

“The board agreed to rearrange the game as a precaution, and further testing will now take place tomorrow,” said a statement.

“The decision has been taken with the health of players and staff the priority.”

Second-placed Everton, who could have gone level on points with neighbours Liverpool at the top of the table with a victory, had no say in the decision to postpone the match.

Having to call off the game at such a late stage was also a huge disappointment to 2,000 supporters as Goodison Park is one of only two Premier League grounds – the other being Anfield – allowed to admit fans.

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