Politics

Covid Scotland: Jason Leitch insists no ‘secret plan’ of more imminent restrictions

Scotland’s national clinical director has insisted there is no “secret plan” of imminent restrictions being introduced.

Jason Leitch stressed that government officials are looking daily at “what the protections might need to be going forward” – adding that several countries are “thinking very deeply” over that they should do.

He made the comments on BBC Sportsound ahead of a bumper weekend of Scottish football – with Rangers taking on Dundee United at Ibrox, and Celtic playing Hibernian at Hampden Park.

Both sets of games have drawn attention in recent days, with crowds of up to 50,000 set to attend each match.

 

Speaking about potential restrictions, Professor Leitch said: “We have no plan, there isn’t a secret plan, there isn’t a drawer with an A Le Carte menu on it, that the First Minister is going to announce immediately.

“We talk every single day about what the data is doing, what we are seeing internationally, what the protections might need to be going forward.

“You can see every country is struggling, France are putting in new measures, stopping UK travellers, a lot of countries are thinking very deeply over what they should do.”

He used the opportunity to issue a fresh plea to fans to do all they can to ensure public safety.

He added: “The SPFL and the clubs, over the past 48 hours, have been excellent.

“The communication with fans has been really good, I have just looked up the Hibs website to look at what they are suggesting to their fans, and it’s excellent, it’s all about testing before you go, be careful as much as you can.

“Those games are going ahead, as of now, but we’re asking people to be as careful as they can, if you have any symptoms, if you think you might be ill, do not go, don’t go on the transportation, don’t go the pub, don’t meet your pals.

“You are likely to pass this on to other people, if you go, if you choose to go, be careful, try and avoid crowded public transport, we have also spoken to Scotrail and the bus owners, and we will try to put on as much transportation as we can, try and keep them less crowded.

“So if you can try and travel earlier, wait until later, things like that will really help us to try and space out the crowds and make sure you do a lateral flow test.

“Stopping the virus getting into the bus is the most important thing you can do.”

 

Speaking about moving games behind closed doors – which is what happened last season – Prof Leitch said no decisions have yet been made on the issue.

He told the programme: “I honestly don’t know, we honestly need more time to give that advice to the First Minister.

“I mean, if we’re stopping that kind of large event, we will have to think very, very carefully across the whole of society and stopping other things.

“Remember, it’s not so much inside [stadiums] that particularly worries us, it’s the travel too and from, it’s the pubs, it’s all the stuff around sport.

“Whether it’s a hockey, football or rugby game, it’s all the peripheral stuff that brings people together in an environment where this virus, I’m afraid, enjoys transmission advantage.”

Latest figures in Scotland:

Scotland has recorded nine new coronavirus deaths and 5,917 positive cases in the past 24 hours.

The daily figures from the Scottish Government show 494 people are in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, of which 34 are in intensive care.

The Covid-19 death toll in Scotland under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – now stands at 9,780.

The test positivity rate stands at 12.2%.

A total of 4,369,398 people have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine while 3,988,961 have received their second dose and 2,436,952 have received a third dose or booster.

 

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