Only ‘modest’ evidence of Covid transmission in fan zones

A fan zone at Glasgow Green will see up to 6000 people attend per day.

Only ‘modest’ evidence of Covid transmission in fan zones PA Media

Evidence of transmission of coronavirus in outdoor settings such as fan zones is “relatively modest”, according to a leading scientist.

Glasgow City Council announced last month it would hold a fan zone event at Glasgow Green for football’s European Championships, which would allow 6000 people to gather together per day.

Fans will be able to watch the Scotland men’s team play in their first major tournament since the World Cup in France in 1998.

Professor James Chalmers, an epidemiologist from Dundee University, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme the risk was relatively low if the event went ahead.

“Although there have been successful trials of outdoor and even some indoor events with testing, outdoor transmission is believed to be much less of a risk than indoor transmission,” he said.

“While as a health professional I want as few people to be infected as possible so I would always say take the most cautious path, the evidence that there’s large-scale transmission in outdoor situations like an outdoor fan zone is relatively modest.

“So I think we have to balance public health with the evidence and that’s a decision that, thankfully, I don’t have to make regarding whether to go ahead with these big outdoor events.”

The idea has been controversial in Glasgow and across Scotland as the city has remained in level three restrictions while the rest of the country has moved to level two.

A decision is expected on Tuesday on whether Glasgow will move to level two from Saturday as the Scottish Government previously said was the aim, while uncertainty continues over the move to level one, given case spikes in some other local authority areas.

Prof Chalmers said it was unlikely for areas outside Glasgow to see restrictions ease uniformly on Monday, given increases in cases in areas such as Dundee – where the positivity rate for the seven days up to May 28 was 100.5 per 100,000 of the population.

“It looks very unlikely that we’ll be able to bring the country out at the same rate, because cases aren’t rising at the same rate in each of the regions,” he said.

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