UEA virus expert reassures fans ahead of Norwich City friendly
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
A virus expert has reassured fans attending Carrow Road for Norwich City's friendly with Gillingham tonight.
The friendly is set to see the largest home crowd since 27,000 fans packed into Carrow Road to see a 1-0 home victory over Leicester in February 2020.
Yet unlike with last season's limited-capacity test events, fans will be able to enter the ground without providing proof of a negative Covid-19 test or a double vaccination, and will not have their temperature checked.
With lockdown restrictions, including rules on social distancing, no longer in force, many mass spectator events have taken to requiring Covid-19 passports.
A spokesperson for the club confirmed it was still waiting on confirmation of matchday protocols from the Premier League, with no set rules in place for friendlies, adding any measures in place tonight could be changed by the time the season gets under way.
Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the UEA, said: "We do seem to be getting to the point where virus cases are decreasing despite restrictions being eased, although we're not quite back to zero precautions.
"My view is we are getting to the point where we are reaching the endemic equilibrium.
"This is a virus that is going to stay with us and keeping or adding restrictions won't do a huge amount of good, and we can take the risk from this sort of activity, given the proportion of the population who have been fully vaccinated.
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"We have got to start living with the virus and I am not too worried about tonight, but if you are a vulnerable person or have not been fully vaccinated, then I would advise them to be cautious."
Once inside, fans are encouraged to wear a face covering while walking through public areas, although may remove these once seated.
A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council said: "We would urge anyone attending football matches to remember that, while the government restrictions may have eased, the virus is still out there and everyone can take sensible precautions themselves to stay safe, including wearing face coverings in crowded indoor spaces and ensuring hands are washed thoroughly.
"We would also encourage all adults to take regular lateral flow tests twice weekly."