By Deirdre Tynan • 01 July 2021 • 16:19
Packed stadiums will be a public health hazard, experts warn.
The decision to allow 60,000 fans to attend the Euro 2020 semi-finals and finals at Wembley is “a recipe for disaster” and has been criticised by the World Health Organisation, MEPs and Germany.
A committee of MEPs has written to European parliament president, David Sassoli, to ask him to convince the UK government and UEFA to accommodate fewer fans at upcoming Euro 2020 matches in Wembley.
“Despite the worrisome situation, the UK government decided to increase crowd capacity at Wembley. We consider this decision a recipe for disaster,” they wrote.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned that Covid cases are on the rise again in Europe.
“Last week, the number of cases rose by 10 per cent, driven by increased mixing, travel, gatherings and easing of social restrictions. There will be a new wave in the WHO European Region unless we remain disciplined,” WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told a press conference on July 1.
“We need to look much beyond just the stadiums themselves,” WHO’s senior emergency officer, Catherine Smallwood, also told reporters.
“We need to look at how people get there, are they travelling in large crowded convoys of buses? And when they leave the stadiums, are they going into crowded bars and pubs to watch the matches? It is these small continuous events that are driving the spread of the virus,” she added.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has also called the decision by the UK government and UEFA to allow big crowds at Euro 2020 “utterly irresponsible”.
On June 16, the UK announced that at least 40,000 fans will be allowed for the final four Euro 2020 fixtures at Wembley including the semi-finals, they later upped that number to 60,000.
A report by the EU’s disease control agency ECDC estimated the more contagious Delta variant could account for 90 per cent of new cases in the EU by the end of August.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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