Press "Enter" to skip to content

Euro 2020 and Covid-19: WHO voices concern over crowded stadiums

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of easing coronavirus restrictions as many Euro 2020 host countries are allowing large crowds of spectators to gather in stadiums and watch matches.

Not mentioning specific countries or cities where pandemic guidelines were flouted, WHO regretted “that some stadiums hosting the tournament are currently raising the number of spectators allowed to see a match.”

“In some of the host cities, COVID-19 cases are already on the rise in areas where matches are played,” said Robb Butler, executive director of WHO Europe, in a written statement.

The concerns came after the British government announcement on Tuesday, saying that more than 60,000 fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley, which will be played between 6-11 July.

The matches will see the largest crowds assembled at a sporting event in Britain for more than 15 months, with numbers previously strictly limited due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision for opening stadium’s doors to fans has been raising fears over spreading the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which caused a catastrophe in India by killing thousands of people every day in the last two months.

Britain recorded 11,625 Covid-19 positive cases on Tuesday, marking the highest daily number since mid-February, amid the fear of spreading the Delta variant.

The Delta is considered as “the fastest and fittest coronavirus variant” which picks off the most vulnerable people especially in places with low inoculation, according to WHO.

However, the number of cases has been rising in the UK despite vaccinating nearly 80 percent of its adult population.

The further variant, “Delta Plus”, has been seen in the UK which increased concerns over the Euro 2020 decision.

Paradoxically, the UK announced the opening Euro 2020 semi-finals and final to spectators days after PM Boris Johnson delayed easing Covid-19 restrictions plan for four weeks.

On the other hand, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Monday the Euro 2020 final should be moved out of London because of the spread of the Delta variant.

“I advocate that the final should not take place in a country in which the risk of infection is very big,” Draghi told reporters.

All ticket holders at Wembley will need to follow a number of strict entry requirements, including having a negative Covid-19 test or proof of full vaccination.

“We have worked extremely closely with UEFA and the FA to ensure rigorous and tight public health measures are in place whilst allowing more fans to see the action live,” said UK’s Culture and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden.

UEFA had stressed there were no plans to take the semi-finals or final away from Wembley, despite the stumbling block of quarantine-free travel, and president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the announcement of the increased capacity.

Some of the biggest events in Britain’s summer sporting calendar, including Wimbledon and international cricket matches, will also go ahead with greater capacities as part of the latest phase of the government’s pilot programme to test the return of large crowds.

More from SportsMore posts in Sports »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *