Omicron Scotland: Covid adviser 'worried' about football fixtures but did not advise against matches going ahead

The national clinical director has said he is “worried” about the major football games going ahead this weekend as Omicron continues to surge in Scotland.

Hibernian fans celebrate during the Premier Sports Cup semi-final match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. They will head to Hampden Park today.
Hibernian fans celebrate during the Premier Sports Cup semi-final match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. They will head to Hampden Park today.

However, Jason Leitch, one of Nicola Sturgeon’s most senior public health advisers, said he did not advise against the Scottish League Cup final going ahead at Hampden in Glasgow today.

He also praised the band Deacon Blue for cancelling their concert due to Covid concerns, but confirmed he also did not advise the First Minister to stop the event going ahead.

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Appearing on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, the public health expert was asked whether he was worried about the 100,000 fans packed into Ibrox and Hampden over the weekend, Professor Leitch said: “Yeah I’m worried about it.”

He added: “Half of them have already been, remember, that was yesterday, I am worried about the half that will go today and I am worried about the other parts of the puzzle around the country.

"No [I did not advise the government against it]. I had Deacon Blue tickets for tonight and I was very very disappointed that we couldn’t go to Deacon Blue, but Deacon Blue made a very responsible decision with the promoters to cancel that.”

Professor Leitch rejected criticism that authorities should have made the decision to cancel concerts rather than force the decision onto bands and promoters stating that it wasn’t up to him.

He said: “The public health advice is to try and have a risk free event as much as you can.

"Over here is the chief economist, the chief social policy advisor, and the cabinet secretary for the economy and the cabinet secretary for health and the First Minister.

"All of the advice comes together and the First Minister makes the best decision she can.”

He added: “The public health advice is if you’re going to go, vaccinate, test, and follow the rules, so buses, trains all of them worry me.

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"The outdoor experience at St Johnstone or Hampden, that doesn’t worry me particularly, but getting to and from it do.”

"I don’t think any of these events are safe but nor is your studio and nor is my house.

"What we are trying to do is create safer environments for people as best as we possibly can.”

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