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Will Omicron force a bikesport ban?

There have been a record number of daily coronavirus cases across the UK for a third day in a row today. There were 93,045 confirmed Covid cases reported on Friday, up by 5000 on Thursday. The number of coronavirus cases in the UK has increased by 132,836 or 38.6% in the last seven days, compared with the previous week. Deaths remain stable but there is generally a lag between infection and severe illness developing.

Omicron is now the dominant covid type in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, and there are new rules to stop the spread of the virus there where people have been urged to stay at home as much as possible in the lead up to Christmas and to meet with no more than three households at a time. There are also rules in place in shops and hospitality outlets. Welsh minister Mark Drakeford says there will be new measures from 27 December.

With travel to France being banned from tomorrow – apart from very good reasons which you’ll have to prove to French border guards – and a huge roll-out of the booster jab, it doesn’t look good for bikesport in the short term future.

Along with the huge booster jab roll-out, a massive increase in covid cases puts a strain on hospitals and the NHS. The same NHS that has to deal with accident from motocross and enduro…

Almost a year ago to the day, the ACU set out its rules following the then-new lockdown rules across the UK, banning all organised bikesport in Tier 4 areas in England and Wales. It also said: “For those areas in Tier 3 (Very High alert), organised ACU activity can continue but the following restrictions need to be adhered to; leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open. There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators. Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place.”

The return to public events was only restored from March 29 – although spectator numbers were limited. In 2022, the two biggest races of the year – the Hawkstone International then British GP – are both in February so could be under threat of any new lockdown.

So far there has been no statement by the ACU, Hawkstone Park International or British GP organisers as they await government rules and guidance.