Professional sport will continue as normal in Scotland despite the strict new coronavirus lockdown coming into effect from midnight.

The news comes as Boris Johnson gets set to address the nation today at 8pm and announce further severe restrictions amid increasing rises in coronavirus cases. 

The Prime Minister is set to unveil a brutal new lockdown in England in a desperate bid to keep the mutant coronavirus at bay while vaccines are rolled out.

Professional sport will go ahead as planned in Scotland despite the new Covid lockdown

Professional sport will go ahead as planned in Scotland despite the new Covid lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon meanwhile has told the Scottish Parliament that people must stay at home for the rest of January in Level 4 areas, which covers mainland Scotland and Skye.

But professional sport is exempt from the new stringent measures that have been put in place in Scotland.  

The Scottish Government has released an exemption list, which states ‘those involved in professional sports, for training, coaching or competing in an event’ are among those allowed to leave their homes. 

A Scottish Football Association statement read: ‘Following the First Minister’s announcement regarding increased restrictions this afternoon, we will liaise with @ScotGov on the impact upon grassroots football. We will a provide further update in due course.’ 

And elite sport in England is also not expected to be affected by the new lockdown that Johnson will unveil later this evening. 

Whitehall sources have told Sportsmail they expect professional football matches to continue behind closed doors. 

Sport has come under increasing threat in recent weeks by the new mutant strain, which has led to plenty of elite events being postponed in England. 

Fulham’s previous two Premier League games have been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak within the squad, while a spread within the Manchester City squad led to their recent trip to Everton being called off. 

In the EFL, plenty of matches have also been postponed in recent weeks amid the alarming rise in coronavirus cases.

Professional sport is also not expected to be affected by the new lockdown in England

Professional sport is also not expected to be affected by the new lockdown in England

It is understood that England is facing blanket restrictions similar to those imposed during the first lockdown last spring, with fears they will have to last for months until the most vulnerable get their vaccines. 

Official figures showed today that 58,784 new cases have been recorded – a 42 per cent rise on last Monday.

Department of Health chiefs also posted 407 more deaths, up 14 per cent on the figure recorded last week. 

Furthermore Johnson’s national address regarding a new lockdown comes ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup third round encounters. 

Amid the alarming Covid figures, the FA have warned clubs that they have to play the FA Cup third round fixtures or risk forfeiting the tie.

With Fulham‘s coronavirus crisis having grown in recent days, they could be forced to field academy players in the tie against QPR on Saturday depending on how many players are available by then.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a brutal new lockdown amid a rise in Covid cases

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a brutal new lockdown amid a rise in Covid cases

But there will be even greater fears for non-league clubs such as Marine, Chorley, Borehamwood and Stockport County who will undergo testing paid for by the FA this week which could see asymptomatic players ruled out and clubs struggling to field a team.

Clubs have been told to play if they have 14 players fit — though even that may not be enough if a team do not have a goalkeeper.

The FA are encouraging clubs to test a wider pool of players outside the regular first-team squad in case of multiple positives.

A player cannot be drafted in at the last minute unless they have tested negative for coronavirus, so the FA are keen that fringe academy players are also tested in case they are needed to make up numbers.

With the fourth round set for the weekend of January 23 — a week earlier than usual — and replays having already been jettisoned because of the fixture build-up, there is little prospect of rescheduling games.