Jason Leitch expresses Covid fears over Premier Sports Cup final between Celtic and Hibernian as Omicron cases spread across Scotland
Scotland’s national clinical director spoke earlier today as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the country
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Scotland’s national clinical director raised his fears earlier today as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the country.
Leitch admitted the game itself is not likely to cause issues but is fearful that 50,000 people travelling to and from the national stadium could potential lead to a further spike in infections.
Celtic are expected to have 30,000 supporters in attendance, with many arriving from outwith Glasgow on supporters’ buses and public transport, while around 19,000 Hibs fans will travel through from Edinburgh on trains, buses and cars.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon introduced a new set of measures on Tuesday in an attempt to curtail the spread of the virus, with a three household limit on any social gatherings over the festive period.
To date, football crowds has been unaffected but there are growing concerns this could change as cases continue to increase.
Professor Leitch said: “Once you get to the cup final, I’m actually not that worried because that’s outdoors, it’s a big space, it will be Scotland in December - it will likely be windy and cold. So the virus won’t like that.
“What I am worried about is the buses, the cars, the trains getting to that event.”
Leitch also urged fans to get their booster vaccine and to take a lateral flow test before travelling after confirmed cases of the Omicron variant doubled overnight to 561.
A two-week shutdown across Scottish football has been rumoured as a potential possibility after several games in the English Premier League were called off due to a number of positive tests over the last week.
Airdrieonians League One match against Queen’s Park on Saturday was postponed, while Dundee United were forced to shut down their training ground after a positive result, with players sent for PCR tests as a precaution.
St Johnstone were also without striker Chris Kane for their match against Rangers on Wednesday after a family member in his household tested positive, ensuring he will have to self-isolate for 10 days under the new guidelines.
Managers have voiced their opinion on the issue with Livingston boss David Martindale suggesting a Premiership ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown for the next fortnight.