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Five Premier League games postponed as UK COVID cases hit new record

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By Alessio Dellanna  with AP
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Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers looks out during the English Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, England
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers looks out during the English Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, England   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Leila Coker

The number of postponed games in the English Premier League has now risen to five after two more fixtures were cancelled on Thursday as the UK battles an exponential growth in COVID-19 cases.

Rising infections at Leicester City forced the postponement of their away game at Tottenham, scheduled for Thursday, while an ongoing outbreak at Manchester United meant their Saturday game at Brighton had to be called off too.

It comes after Brentford was unable to host United on Tuesday, while Brighton-Tottenham on Sunday and Burnley-Watford, originally scheduled for Wednesday, were also postponed.

England and Scotland mull new restrictions

The number of new cases in the UK hit a new record for the second consecutive day on Thursday, with 88,376 infections registered.

England's chief medical officer warned the situation is likely to get worse as the Omicron variant drives a new wave of illness during the Christmas holiday.

This week both England and Scotland approved new restrictions to stem the surge.

In England, frontline workers at the National Health Service (NHS) have been told they'll have to be double vaccinated by April if they want to continue to work.

Also, parliament approved a mandate for stadiums, nightclubs and any indoor unseated venue with more than 500 people to check customers are either fully vaccinated or have taken a negative test in the last 48 hours.

In Scotland, businesses are now compelled to take measures to limit contacts, while care home residents can receive visits only from a maximum of two households.

France restricts travel from the UK

On top of new restrictions, UK citizens are also facing significant new limitations on travels to neighbouring France.

From Saturday (December 18), trips will be permitted only in case of "compelling" reasons, and all arrivals will have to present a negative COVID-19 test less than 24 hours old as well as isolate for at least two days.

Watch more on the new travel restrictions from our reporter Tadhg Enright in the player above.