Lib Dems call on government to send every supporter attending fanzone a COVID test
The Lib Dems have called on the government to send out COVID tests to every household heading to Glasgow’s football fanzone.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said it was an “open goal” for authorities ahead of the tournament.
There have been questions over the safety measures in place for both the games at Hampden and the events being held in the giant fanzone for up to 6,000 supporters in the middle of Glasgow Green.
Unlike fans attending matches at Wembley, supporters heading to Scotland’s national stadium won’t need to show evidence of a negative lateral flow test result or proof of full vaccination.
Cole-Hamilton said: "Scotland is united in hoping that we have a great summer of sport ahead but the case rate is rising rapidly and every public activity comes with an element of risk.
"When nursery graduations and adult daycare services are still prohibited from operating, we need to be careful that we are taking sensible precautions to prevent the virus from spreading again.
"Everyone already has to register before attending Hampden Park or the Glasgow fanzone. The authorities could team up to mail out lateral flow tests. It's an open goal.
"It should be made as easy as possible for people to take steps to protect themselves and take sensible precautions. It couldn't be any easier than having something drop through your letterbox.
"Using this as a means to encourage people to take tests before and after they have been to events would help catch outbreaks early and help keep the city open."
Yesterday, Linda Bauld, a professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme that while there was less risk involved in the fanzone than a mass, indoor event, it was still proving controversial.
She said: “This has become a big issue in Scotland, because it’s being allowed to go ahead at a time when lots of other things are still restricted and Glasgow is only a week out of level 3.”
The academic added: “It’s also controversial because when you contrast this with all the other things that are still restricted, it’s hard for some families, communities and sectors to understand the logic.”
On Tuesday, Scotland’s health secretary, Humza Yousaf, told MSPs the fanzone would be an “outdoor, highly regulated space”.
He added: “The situation with the virus will be continually monitored in the run up to and of course during the tournament, taking into account the latest scientific and clinical advice, and indeed, local information that we get on the ground.
“In relation to the fan zone, I understand the concerns that some have expressed, especially in light of the hard sacrifices everyone has made.
“The proposal for a fan zone is not about prioritising football over other priorities, it’s about seeking to cater in as safe a way as possible for fans who want to watch matches.”
The minister said the zone could be closed down if cases continue to spike.
Yousaf added: “I want to make it clear that the situation with the virus, the application of necessary mitigations and the actual experience of the event, will be monitored on an ongoing basis.
“Any changes considered necessary will be made up to and including withdrawing permission should significant concerns arise.”