Covid restrictions on outdoor events and matches lifted

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Celtic Park will play host to the first Scottish Premiership game since restrictions were relaxed on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Celtic Park will play host to the first Scottish Premiership game since restrictions were relaxed on Monday (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

Attendees at this week’s football matches are being urged to be careful as restrictions on large events are lifted by the Scottish Government.

Games were rescheduled by sports authorities after restrictions were introduced in December, limiting large outdoor events to 500 people, after the Omicron variant began to spread rapidly across the UK.

Chief medical officer Dr Sir Gregor Smith urged fans returning to stadiums to exercise care, with the first fixture due to be played on Monday at Celtic Park – a stadium which has a capacity of upwards of 60,000 people.

Chief medical officer Dr Sir Gregor Smith said there are ‘encouraging’ signs in the battle against the virus (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament/PA) (PA Media)
Chief medical officer Dr Sir Gregor Smith said there are ‘encouraging’ signs in the battle against the virus (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament/PA) (PA Media)

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: “If I was in the stadium, I think I’d just be careful.

“Look for the choke points where people congregate, make sure you’re avoiding those crowds, try and make sure that you’re wearing a face covering at all times when you’re in that crowd.”

Sir Gregor also stressed the importance of minimising the spread of Covid-19 while on the way to games, taking a lateral flow test before leaving and limiting the number of places where fans stop in between home and the stadium.

As well as football matches, Murrayfield will be able to host a full house for the Six Nations rugby.

Scots will still be required to show evidence of vaccination or a recent negative lateral flow test in order to access large events.

Organisers of events with more than 1,000 attendees will be expected to check the Covid status of at least half of those arriving.

Another change coming in on Monday affects the definition of being “fully vaccinated”.

For those whose second dose was more than four months ago, they will now require a booster or third dose.

What we can now see is fairly distinct, encouraging signs of progress overall in the data

Dr Sir Gregor Smith

The chief medical officer also claimed there are “encouraging” signs in the fight against the new variant – echoing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s statement to MSPs last week that Scotland has “turned a corner”.

“What we can now see is fairly distinct, encouraging signs of progress overall in the data, particularly in the case rate,” he said.

“It’s been unstable for a little while, partly because of the holiday period over Christmas and New Year but also because of the recent changes that we had to testing.

“But it does appear that there’s some genuine improvement that sits behind that.”

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