Warning over 'super-spreader' nightclubs just hours after they reopen

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JULY 19: Clubbers take to the dance floor just minutes after Pryzm nightclub threw open its doors to celebrate the relaxing of Covid-19 rules in the early hours of July 19, 2021 in Brighton, England. At a minute past midnight, England dropped most of its remaining Covid-19 social restrictions, such as those requiring indoor mask-wearing and limits on group gatherings. These changes come despite rising infections, pitting the country's vaccination programme against the virus's more contagious Delta variant. (Photo by Chris Eades/Getty Images)
Clubbers take to the dancefloor just minutes after Brighton's Pryzm nightclub threw open its doors to celebrate the relaxing of COVID-19 rules in the early hours of 19 July. (Getty)

Nightclubs could be “potential super-spreading events”, the UK's chief scientific adviser has warned.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Monday, Sir Patrick Vallance said that cases are expected to increase as nightclubs are opened.

It came as the government on Monday announced plans to make it mandatory for people to be fully vaccinated before entering a nightclub or other crowded venues.

The potential new measures were revealed as remaining lockdown restrictions were eased in England despite rising case numbers.

Read: 60% of all COVID hospitalisation are unvaccinated, says Patrick Vallance

Sir Patrick said: “Right the way across the world we’ve seen that nightclubs and venues where you’ve got lots of people indoors, crowded together, are a focus for potential super spreading events, and that has also been seen in terms of what’s happened in Holland and Israel where nightclubs opened, and you saw a big increase in cases.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 19: People queue to get in to the Egg London nightclub in the early hours of July 19, 2021 in London, England. As of 12:01 on Monday, July 19, England will drop most of its remaining Covid-19 social restrictions, such as those requiring indoor mask-wearing and limits on group gatherings, among other rules. These changes come despite rising infections, pitting the country's vaccination programme against the virus's more contagious Delta variant. (Photo by Rob Pinney/Getty Images)
People queue to get in to the Egg London nightclub in the early hours of 19 July. (Getty)

“So I think it’s... there’s no question that that is an environment in which spreading is easier, you’ve got lots of people quite close together, you’ve got the environment in which spreading becomes easier.

“And I would expect that with opening of nightclubs, we’ll continue to see an increase in cases and we will see outbreaks related to specific nightclubs as well.

“And that’s, again, why it’s so important that everybody comes and gets a vaccine, so that we can reduce the chance of spread, and we can reduce the chance of consequences of that spread.”

Watch: Those self-isolating must continue to do so – PM

It came after vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said proof of a negative COVID-19 test would soon “no longer be sufficient” to prove that a person was COVID-safe.

He urged businesses to “use the NHS COVID pass in the weeks ahead”, adding: “We will be keeping a close watch on how it is used by venues and reserve the right to mandate if necessary.”

“By the end of September everyone aged 18 and over will have the chance to receive full vaccination and the additional two weeks for that protection to really take hold," he said.

“So at that point we plan to make full vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. Proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient.”

On Monday, Sir Patrick also revealed that 60% of COVID hospital admissions were from unvaccinated people.

But he added it was "inevitable" that the proportion of people being admitted to hospitals who have had both jabs will increase.

Watch: COVID-19 hospitalisations rise among unvaccinated