‘Euro 2020 Final COVID superspreader event’



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Over 3,000 covid cases at Wembley during EURO 2020 Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

The Euro 2020 Final between England and Italy at the Wembley Stadium (UK) in July was a “superspreader” event due to the level of COVID-19 infection found in or around the venue on the day, according to official data published recently.

The ‘India Today’ stated that Public Health England said 2,295 people were likely to have been infectious with a further 3,404 people potentially acquiring infection at the July 11th match.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Euro 2020 Final was a football match between England and Italy that took place at Wembley Stadium in London, England (UK), on July 11th, 2021 to determine the winner of UEFA Euro 2020. It was the 16th final of the UEFA European Championship, a quadrennial tournament contested by the senior men’s national teams of the member-associations of UEFA to decide the champions of Europe. Originally scheduled for July 12th, 2020, the tournament had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic which had throttled Europe.

Italy won the European Championship for the first time since 1968 as Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two England penalties en route to a 3-2 shootout win after the teams had fought out a 1-1 extra-time draw at a raucous Wembley.

The 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London (UK). It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium hosts major football matches including home matches of the England national football team, and the Football Association (FA) Cup Final.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe. It is one of six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

Several media outlets dubbed the soccer showpiece as a “superspreader event”.

The ‘India Today’ further stated that the match, with a crowd of around 67,000 packed inside the stadium, was England’s first final in an international soccer tournament since the country hosted and won the 1966 World Cup.

Observed Jenifer Smith, Public Health England’s Deputy Medical Director, in a statement, “Euro 2020 was a unique occasion and it is unlikely we would see a similar impact on COVID-19 cases from future events. However, the data does show how easily the virus can spread when there is close contact and this should be a warning to us all as we try and return to a cautious normality once again.”

Other trial events over a four-month period showed far fewer positive tests, and were either broadly in line with or lower than the national averages.

The British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone in July drew a 350,000-strong crowd, the largest in Britain in more than 18 months, over three days and had 585 cases recorded by NHS Test and Trace.

Of those cases, 343 were likely to have already been infectious around the time of the event and the rest likely to have acquired an infection then.

The Wimbledon tennis championships, with around 300,000 people attending over the two weeks, recorded 881 cases.

Maintained Culture Minister Oliver Dowden, “We’ve shown that we can reintroduce mass sports and cultural events safely but it is important that people remain cautious when mixing in very crowded settings. So that we can keep the football season, theaters and gigs safe with full crowds this winter, I urge sport, music and culture fans to get the vaccine as this is the safest way we can get big events firing on all cylinders once more.”

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