FOOTBALL fans’ hopes of returning to stadiums next month have been dashed due to the spike in Covid cases.
Clubs were due to let in a quarter of their stadium’s capacity from October 1 under plans to socially distance fans.
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But Downing Street has put the plans on hold after government scientists deemed the prevalence of the virus was too high to let fans back so soon.
Some of the current sporting events that are carrying out pilots for the return of fans will still go ahead – such as horse racing, cricket and some football games.
However crowds for the pilot games will be capped at 1,000, Boris Johnson announced today.
The move delivers a major blow for millions of fans ahead of the start of the 2020/21 football season, which starts this weekend.
Mr Johnson said the Government will "revise plans to pilot larger audiences later this month" and they will review intention to allow audiences back to stadiums.
However he stressed "it doesn't mean we will scrap it entirely", promising more information soon.
In his first No10 press conference since July the PM warned Brits face new £100 fines if they meet in groups of more than six indoors or out.
The strict rules apply from Monday to gatherings in homes, pubs and restaurants — and could still be in force at Christmas.
Currently, people only face fines for gathering in groups of more than 30. And they can only legally meet inside with one other household.
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But that will be changed so any of the six can be from different households, in an attempt to bring rules in line with outdoor gatherings.
The PM also discussed a border crackdown, with new forms to fill out and extra checks on people who should be quarantining after returning from countries not in the travel corridor.
And he revealed a new law will insist Brits must give test and trace details to pubs and restaurants.
He said he is "sorry" that two whole households will no longer be able to meet if their total exceeds six people.
Mr Johnson said: "This rule of six will of course throw up difficult cases, for example two whole households will no longer be able to meet if they would together exceed the limit of six people and I'm sorry about that, and I wish that we did not have to take this step.
"But as your Prime Minister, I must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and to save lives. And of course we will keep the rule of six under constant review and only keep it in place as long as is necessary."
In data shared today older people and younger children were not seeing a huge rise in cases, but people aged 30-29 were shown to have a rapid increase.
England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said it was a "real phenomenon" in which we are seeing real cases going up – with individual testing matching the infection rise.
CASE RISE FEARS
There are fears curfews could come in for other areas under local lockdown, after Bolton saw pubs and restaurants only allowed to open within certain hours.
Young people have been blamed for the rise in coronations cases, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying people aged under 25 living in some of the country's richest areas have been pinpointed.
When asked if people were not following the rules he added: "We certainly see cases where they are not, and then we take action."
And many new cases are often linked, he said – adding that in Bolton, an outbreak was tied to a single pub which has been asked to close.
"We are seeing problems with social distancing. The rise in cases is largely among younger people, under 25s, especially between 17 and 21," he said.
It comes after police demanded greater powers to fine young Covid flouters — and ahead of tens of thousands returning to university next week.
The PM said the changes would make it simpler for the public to understand.
The drastic move comes after alarming figures revealed there were almost 2,500 new cases in the UK yesterday — following two straight days of 3,000 new infections.
The numbers were the highest since May and took the overall total of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK to 350,000-plus.
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