Two Premier League games have been postponed in less than two hours as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc with the festive fixture schedule.
It has been announced on Thursday afternoon that Manchester United and Brighton's game will not go ahead on Saturday as United continue to deal with a coronavirus outbreak at the club.
This comes just days after their game with Brentford being cancelled as they shut down their training facility to try and get a handle on the situation.
Elsewhere, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur's clash, which was due to take place at the King Power Stadium on Thursday night, was also postponed.
This came after Leicester made a second request to the Premier League for the match to be cancelled, having confirmed more positive Covid-19 cases amongst their squad on Thursday morning.
The call means Spurs are facing mounting fixture congestion as this marks their third consecutive postponement.
A Statement from the Premier League in relation to the decision on the United game said;
Manchester United’s fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend has been postponed by the Premier League Board today.
It is with regret that this is the fourth Premier League fixture to have been postponed in the past week. While recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is the League’s intention to continue its current fixture schedule where safely possible. The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority.
Regarding Manchester United’s game on Saturday, the club continues to have an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak within their squad, which has left them unable to field a team for the match at Old Trafford.
A significant number of COVID-19 cases led to their game against Brentford FC being called off earlier this week, and today additional positive tests have been confirmed.
The Board assesses applications to postpone matches on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and COVID-19 postponement guidance issued to all clubs. It will assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match. The Board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club may come into contact with.
In light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, the Premier League has reintroduced Emergency Measures. These include protocols such as more frequent testing, wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing and limiting treatment time.
On Wednesday night Burnley's match with Watford was called off just two hours before kick-off for the same reason and Tuesday saw Manchester United and Brentford's game fall.
A record 42 new positive cases of Covid-19 were announced by the Premier League on Monday.
That's an all-time high in a week since testing began and also quite a jump from the previous week's 12.