Covid: 500-person cap on outdoor events in Scotland axed, Nicola Sturgeon confirms

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Scotland will lift a 500 person ban on outdoor gatherings, allowing sports fans to return to football and rugby stadiums to watch the sports.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the move on Tuesday which will take place from next Monday.

She said there were signs Scotland is “starting to turn a corner” amid the Omicron spread.

However, Ms Sturgeon reignited the debate around vaccine passports as she revealed the government was considering extending the scheme.

Some politicians - including Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross - have voiced their opposition to an extension of the passes.

Ms Sturgeon said: “As we do lift these other protective measures it will be necessary to consider again if extending the scope of Covid certification to other venues might be a necessary protection."

She said no decision had yet been made, saying the issue would require "careful judgement" with ministers to give the matter "appropriate consideration".

While the attendance limit for outdoor events is being lifted, venues are being asked to carry out vaccine checks on larger numbers from Monday.

Changes will also be made to the scheme which will also mean someone is only classed as being "fully vaccinated" if they have had a booster jab if their second dose was more than four months ago.

Over the past week, just over 12,700 people a day have had positive PCR tests - with Ms Sturgeon noting this was down by 17% from the previous week.

The First Minister said: "This is encouraging and gives us some hope that cases may be at or close to the peak."

Mr Ross, however, said: "The outlook is much better now not because of Government restrictions but because of people's good sense."

The Scottish Tory leader told the First Minister: "People across Scotland got their booster, took tests, self isolated when they needed to.

"They were cautious to protect their families, and especially careful about the vulnerable. That's why the data is more positive.

"The people of Scotland got this right, not the Government."

Meanwhile Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar added a "new phase of the pandemic must mean a new approach" to tackling the virus which "recognises we will be living with Covid in some form for years to come".

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