LONDON • Premier League football and other forms of elite professional sport in England will be allowed to continue despite new national lockdown restrictions announced by the British government on Monday.
Under Tier 5 restrictions, nearly 56 million people in England will return to a full lockdown, possibly until the middle of next month, to try to cut spiralling infection rates, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address.
The measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, will come into effect today, he said after Scotland announced similar measures which came into force yesterday.
However, a list of exemptions published by the United Kingdom government allows for "elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway - to compete and train".
One key point in determining whether a sporting competition can go ahead will be if it has, as the Premier League does, a testing regime and the provision of bio-secure bubbles in place, while all matches will continue to be played behind closed doors.
Before Mr Johnson's announcement, England Netball announced that its home series with Jamaica, scheduled for later this month, had been postponed because of international travel restrictions between Britain and the Caribbean island.
A lockdown similar to the one introduced in England last March as a result of a rising number of Covid-19 cases means outdoor gyms, golf courses and tennis courts will close, with amateur outdoor team sports prohibited.
The UK is struggling to cope with a new and faster spreading variant of Covid-19, first identified in the country last month and said to be 70 per cent more transmissible.