'Huge push' to make venues Covid-secure ahead of major events like Wimbledon and the Euros
Save our summer of sport! ‘Huge push’ to make venues Covid-secure ahead of major events like Wimbledon and the Euros with testing kits sent out with tickets and temperature checks on arrival among the plans
- Government is ‘pushing hard’ to get stadiums and venues open for summer
- Plans being devised include home tests for fans in advance of sporting events
- But there are ‘no guarantees’ and plans hinge on the roadmap out of lockdown
Published: 02:03, 13 February 2021 | Updated: 08:16, 13 February 2021
New plans have been drawn up to save the summer sporting season with the Government ‘pushing hard’ to get stadiums and venues Covid safe before June, it has been reported.
Officials are said to be devising new plans to make sure Wimbledon and the Euros go ahead this year such as home tests for fans in advance of sporting events, asymptomatic testing sites and rapid on-site testing and temperature checks.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, a Whitehall source said there was a ‘huge push to get stadiums open’.
The Euros were delayed and Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic
In other Covid stories:
- Matt Hancock hopes ‘treatable’ virus will become a disease we can ‘live with, like we do flu’ within 12 months as he says all adults will likely be offered a vaccine ‘a bit before’ September
- Scientists urge Boris to keep brakes on for two more months as PM prepares to announce roadmap out of lockdown
- Illegal migrants are getting Covid jabs in plush quarantine hotels at Heathrow weeks ahead of older and more vulnerable British people… while arrivals from ‘red-list’ countries must pay GBP1,750 for lower class accommodation
- Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and other parts of England are already vaccinating over-65s against Covid – as NHS confirms roll-out can be expanded to next group in areas winning the race amid calls for scheme to pick up pace
But they told the paper it was still ‘early days’ and no one in Government is making any promises.
They added: ‘The roadmap is key, everybody needs to wait for that.’
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden set up the Sports Technology and Innovation Group (Stig) last year.
Fans have been unable to attend football matches in stadiums because of coronavirus restrictions
The group meets regularly to discuss high-tech solutions to get fans back into stadiums.
He will appear at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on Saturday to meet doctors and nurses supporting the vaccine rollout.
According to the Telegraph source, tennis had been highlighted in recent Government discussions as a priority.
The Euros were delayed and Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
But with the UK’s vaccine rollout, there are hopes that there could be an easing of lockdown measures and regulations within the coming weeks.
Even the architect of the lockdown, Imperial College’s Professor Neil Ferguson, said he is hopeful life will return to normal by this time next year.
He said: ‘The lockdown has really driven down cases quite fast… and that means in a month’s time, [when] the Prime Minister’s talked about potentially reopening schools, we might have some bandwidth to do that, at least primary schools.’
‘And if we continue to see a continued decline without large outbreaks, then perhaps starting to relax other aspects of society the following month.’
According to the Telegraph source, tennis had been highlighted in recent Government discussions as a priority
Britain today dished out 508,736 Covid doses, the third highest number in 24 hours since the mass inoculation scheme began.
It was only higher on January 30 when 609,010 jabs were administered and February 6 when 550,468 were dished out
Professor Ferguson said that he hopes the nation will be under something ‘akin to Tier Two’ by May.
This means shops, pubs and schools would be open and friends and families would be able to meet outdoors with the Rule of Six.
But there is no guarantee that restrictions will be eased as experts from SAGE have warned masks and social distancing could be in place until Autumn, The Times reported.
A Whitehall insider said: ‘The thinking is that social distancing will need to be in place for a long time to come.
‘It has repercussions for the scale of any reopening.
Restaurants, pubs and offices will all need to be Covid-secure.’
Yesterday, a separate weekly report from the Office for National Statistics confirmed infections were falling.
Random testing of people in England found that one in 80 had the virus last week, the equivalent of 695,400 people in total.
This is down from one in 65 the week before and one in 50 at the start of January.