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Covid passes or negative lateral flow tests will be required to attend large sporting events in England as Prime Minister Boris Johnson toughened coronavirus measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

The NHS Covid pass or negative test will be required at unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people.

The passes will still work for people who have had just two doses of a Covid vaccine, although this will be kept under review.

The regulation comes into effect on Wednesday, December 15, with four Premier League games taking place later that evening including Arsenal’s match with West Ham at the Emirates Stadium.

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Fans attending Arsenal’s game with West Ham next Wednesday will require a Covid vaccine passport or negative lateral flow test

English Football League and Premiership Rugby clubs are also affected along with horse racing and the World Darts Championship, which begins at Alexandra Palace on the same day the new restrictions come into force.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister said it was time to move to “Plan B” of the Government’s coronavirus strategy, with measures including a return to working from home.

He said: “We will also make the NHS Covid pass mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues where large crowds gather, including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people.

“The NHS Covid pass can still be obtained with two doses but we will keep this under review as the boosters roll out.

“And having taken clinical advice since the emergence of Omicron, a negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient.

“As we set out in Plan B, we will give businesses a week’s notice, so this will come into force in a week’s time, helping to keep these events and venues open at full capacity while giving everyone who attends them confidence that those around them have done the responsible thing to minimise risk to others.”



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