OXFORD United will get twice-weekly coronavirus tests from Monday in an attempt to safeguard the season.

The English Football League (EFL) and Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) have today introduced the measure for all 72 clubs in the Sky Bet Championship and Leagues One and Two.

It follows this week's mandatory testing across the EFL, which saw the entire U's squad test negative and only one member of support staff record a positive result.

The programme will be fully-funded by the PFA, with the aim of identifying asymptomatic cases before the virus can be passed on.

Read also: Oxford United players return set of negative tests

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch said:“We have repeatedly maintained that adhering to the stringent protocols implemented during the re-start last summer and then across all clubs since the beginning of the season was going to be our best chance of beating the virus and to keep playing matches.

“Only last week we took the decision to enhance these to further minimise risk, though with the new strain of the virus taking hold across parts of the country, it is now clear from our discussions with our medical advisors and public health officials that additional testing, operated in conjunction with strict protocols, may prove beneficial in the immediate short-term.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the PFA for their support in helping us to finalise a position on testing across all three divisions on a twice-weekly basis. 

"We will continue to review the situation and make any adjustments or changes as circumstances dictate with the health and well-being of our players and club staff the overwhelming priority.”

Before Monday's tests, boss Karl Robinson said United had been swabbed just twice in seven weeks.

The EFL has been hit by dozens of postponements due to Covid in the last month, including 23 games in League One.

Karl Robinson: clubs are becoming sloppy with Covid rules

Clubs were last week issued with a stricter set of rules to follow at training grounds, aimed at minimising time spent indoors.

But with a new, faster-spreading strain of the virus resulting in an escalation of cases and a third national lockdown, governing bodies have acknowledged regular testing needs to be in place to safeguard clubs.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor added: “In the light of the current increase in Covid-19 cases and the resulting further tightening of government regulations, the PFA and the EFL have agreed enhanced measures to help protect players, staff and their families.

“Football has provided temporary relief for many fans during the lockdown.

"PFA members, alongside millions of people, have worked hard and played a positive role throughout the pandemic.

“We believe that this comprehensive and expansive approach to testing will help support clubs and be an important factor in maintaining fixtures and ensuring that football can continue during this challenging period."