Scotland: Nearly 2,000 cases of Covid-19 linked to watching football

30 June 2021, 13:09 | Updated: 30 June 2021, 13:48

Fans gathered in central London before and after the England v Scotland match
Fans gathered in central London before and after the England v Scotland match. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

A total of 1,991 Covid-19 cases in Scotland have been linked to fans watching Euro 2020 football matches.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) said nearly two-thirds of these cases - 1,294 people - reported travelling to London to watch Scotland v England on June 18.

A total of 397 of these were fans at the game at Wembley Stadium.

The PHS report said a "relatively small number" of cases in Scotland were linked to the Euro 2020 fanzone at Glasgow Green at 55 while 38 and 37 respectively were linked to Scotland v Croatia and Scotland v the Czech Republic at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

The report states: "PHS is working with Test & Protect and NHS boards to ensure that all public health actions are taken in the close contacts of these Euro 2020 cases as part of the 32,539 cases that were reported to the Test & Protect Case Management System during this period [June 11-28]."

Scotland fans descend on London

The England v Scotland game saw thousands of Scottish fans travel to London.

Some attended the game at Wembley Stadium, while around 20,000 others gathered in "unofficial fanzones".

Leicester Square in particular saw large crowds both before and after the game.

Fans were urged to observe social distancing, but in many places the number of people present made it difficult.

Leicester Square crowd dispersed by police

A total of 30 people were arrested in central London.

On June 19, Scotland Yard said in a tweet: "13 arrests were for public order offences, 6 for drunk and disorderly, 4 for assault on police, 3 for assault, 2 related to Class A drugs and one each for breaching a dispersal order and breaching a banning order."

Concerns had already been voiced about the lack of fan zones, with worries it would lead to large unofficial gatherings, prompting Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to ask fans not to travel for the game unless they had a ticket.

"If you've not got a ticket already for the game, please, please, please try and book now for somewhere to watch the game tonight safely in a pub, bar or restaurant," he told LBC.

"You can't just rock up to a pub and see the game."

Read more: Education Secretary hopes to lift school bubble restrictions from 19 July

Read more: England fans warned not to try to travel to Rome for Saturday's Euros clash vs Ukraine

Public Health Scotland said cases were tagged if they attended either a Euro 2020 organised event, such as a match at Hampden or Wembley or the fan zone at Glasgow Green, or an informal gathering such as a pub or a house party to watch a match.

The figures show nearly three-quarters - or 1,470 cases - with a Euro 2020 tag are people aged 20 to 39, and nine in 10 are men.