Coronavirus restrictions on the number of spectators allowed at outdoor events in Scotland have been lifted, meaning football and rugby matches can go ahead with fans in the stands. In response to the Omicron wave, rules were put in place from Boxing Day to limit the number of people who can attend outdoor events to a maximum of 500. On Tuesday last week, Nicola Sturgeon announced these rules would be eased amid early signs the country had “turned a corner”.
Sky presenter Mark Austin asked: “Obviously you introduced tougher restrictions on Scotland’s hospitality sector than we have down here in England.
“Given that transmission rates of Omicron have remained broadly similar in both countries, was that a mistake? Have you damaged the Scottish hospitality sector unduly?”
Ms Sturgeon said: “As a point of fact, transmission rates are not the same in Scotland as in England.
“If you look at the latest ONS survey, it estimates about 1 in 20 in the most recent survey in Scotland. It had the virus compared to 1 in 50 in England.
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“That’s a big, big difference. Transmission rates have been lower in Scotland.
“To be frank about it at previous stages in the pandemic we’ve had periods where they’ve been higher.
“What’s more important is not the comparison between Scotland and England. It’s the comparison between where Scotland is now and where we might have been had to we not taken sensible steps to try to stem transmission.
“We’re in a much, much stronger than we would have been which is why now today we are lifting the limits on outdoor events.”
More to follow…