Manchester City's trip to Everton postponed at four hours' notice after Covid outbreak in City camp
City lodged a request to postpone the match on Monday morning with confirmation coming around 4pm after a hastily-arranged Premier League board meeting.
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".
"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.
Having to call off the game at such a late stage will disappoint 2,000 supporters as Goodison Park is one of only two Premier League grounds - the other being Anfield - permitted to allow fan admission and a socially distant crowd.
The PA news agency understands Everton will ask for further information from the Premier League about how the decision was reached as they seek full transparency regarding the process. Carlo Ancelotti’s side could have gone level on points with neighbours Liverpool at the top of the table with a victory, but had no say in the decision to postpone the match.
The fixture is only the second Premier League game to be called off due to positive tests for coronavirus this season.
The match between Aston Villa and Newcastle, due to be played on December 4, was postponed due to cases within the Newcastle camp.
A day after Walker and Jesus' positive tests were announced, City played Newcastle at home on Boxing Day, winning 2-0.
The Premier League’s statement added: "The Premier League continues to have full confidence in its protocols and rules, and the way in which all clubs are implementing them.
"The League wishes those with Covid-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange the postponed fixture against Everton in due course."
City's training ground has also been closed for the foreseeable future.