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Wales bans crowds from sports fixtures at all levels in strict Covid rule crackdown

The tough new Covid restrictions will take effect in Wales from Boxing Day

All sporting events in Wales will take place behind closed doors without fans present from Boxing Day, it has been announced.

The Welsh government confirmed the strict new Covid measures are being introduced to help control the spread of the new Omicron variant.

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What has been said?

Vaughan Gething, the economy minister, announced the new measures for indoor and outdoor sporting events as Wales’ latest figures showed a surge in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus cases.

Gething also confirmed a £3m Spectator Sports Fund will be available to those support clubs affected by the new measures to protect public health.

According to the Welsh government, more details about the fund will be available after discussions with the sector.

Gething said: “Sporting events over the Christmas period are one of the big highlights of the year. Unfortunately, the new omicron variant is a significant development in the pandemic and could cause a large number of infections.

“We need to do everything we can to protect people’s health and control the spread of this awful virus.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have followed scientific and public health advice to keep people safe. The advice is clear - we need to act now in response to the threat of Omicron.

“We are giving people as much notice of these decisions as we can. Crowds will come back as soon as possible. We want everyone to enjoy their favourite sports.”

Rate of infection soaring

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has now confirmed more than 100 Omicron cases, the most of any health board, followed by Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB and Swansea Bay UHB.

The overall rate of coronavirus infections is rising in Wales, currently at just under 550 cases per 100,000 people.

On Monday (20 December), the NHS trust confirmed 163 more Omicron cases had been found giving a total of 435 confirmed cases.

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