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Hogmanay celebrations cancelled in Scotland as Nicola Sturgeon announces new Covid restrictions

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  • Nicola Sturgeon
    Nicola Sturgeon
    5th First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party

Football fans have been banned from stadiums and Hogmanay events are cancelled after Nicola Sturgeon imposed further Covid restrictions in Scotland.

More restrictions in hospitality venues will be introduced for a three-week period from December 27 onward, the First Minister announced.

Crowds at outdoor public events will be capped at 500 from Boxing Day.

Numbers at indoor public events are to be limited to 100 standing or 200 seated, she said.

Indoor hospitality venues will also return to table service from 27 December for up to three weeks and no more than three households will be able to sit in one group.

Ms Sturgeon said Omicron is the dominant strain in Scotland, accounting for 62.9 per cent of cases this week, and the R number is “well above three”.

The move has been made to cut down transmission of Omicron and because “large events put an additional burden on emergency services”.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: "From 27 December, again for a three-week period - we intend to introduce some further protections in hospitality settings and other indoor public places to reduce transmission risk in what are, through no fault of those who run such venues, higher-risk environments.

"I can confirm that a requirement for table service-only will be reintroduced for venues serving alcohol for consumption on the premises.

"And we will also ask indoor hospitality and leisure venues to ensure one-metre distance, not within, but between groups of people who are attending together."

She added: "This will of course make sports matches, including football, effectively spectator-free over this three week period.

“And it will also mean that large-scale Hogmanay celebrations - including that planned here in our capital city - will not proceed.”

Physical distancing of 1m will be put in place for all public events.

The restrictions do not apply to private events such as weddings.

People in Scotland should keep socialising to a minimum during the New Year, Ms Sturgeon added.

She told MSPs: “Difficult though it is, please follow this advice over New Year – minimise Hogmanay socialising as much as you can.

“If we all follow the advice to minimise the contact we have outside our own households, we will help limit the spread of infections. This is the bedrock of our plan for the immediate period ahead.

“It is currently spreading rapidly across Scotland, and so the steep increase in infections that was predicted last week has now started to materialise.”

This year’s Christmas will be “more normal” than last year’s despite the newly announced restrictions, she said.

She added: “Just a few days before Christmas, I am again urging people to stay at home as much as possible, to slow down a highly infectious new variant.

“But, although it may not feel like it, we are in a much stronger position than last year. We have had far fewer restrictions in place for much of this year than was the case last year. Christmas Day will be more normal.

“Most importantly, a rapidly increasing number of adults is now protected by three doses of vaccine.”

Scotland recorded an additional 5,242 new Covid cases on Tuesday, a decrease from Monday’s figure of 6,734.

The total number of cases in Scotland is now at 811,927.

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