Thousands at Euro 2020 final were 'potentially infectious' as Govt blames ticketless fans

21 August 2021, 08:26 | Updated: 21 August 2021, 08:29

Thousands of cases have been linked to the Euro 2020 final
Thousands of cases have been linked to the Euro 2020 final. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Wembley's Euro 2020 final was attended by more than 2,000 people who could have spread coronavirus despite a requirement for fans to test negative.

Thousands of cases have now been linked to England's semi-final against Denmark on July 7 and their loss to Italy in the final.

The Government has laid some of the blame at fans who went to the stadium without tickets.

Meanwhile, Public Health England analysis raised questions about how effective self-testing is to manage transmission of Covid at large-scale events.

Spikes in infections were seen every time England played in the latter stages of the tournament, with people having gone to bars, pubs, other houses or to eat out on match days.

Dr Jenifer Smith, Deputy Medical Director at Public Health England, said: "Euro 2020 was a unique occasion and it is unlikely we would see a similar impact on COVID-19 cases from future events.

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"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.

"When attending large events there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk. These include: getting both doses of the vaccine as soon as you can, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces such as on public transport on your way, and if you are catching up with friends before an event, consider doing so outdoors to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

"Please do not attend events if you have symptoms – you must isolate and get a test as soon as possible. If you are a contact of a confirmed case and have had both doses of the vaccine, although you don't need to isolate you should still get a PCR test and limit socialising to keep your loved ones and the wider community safe."

Public Health England found that 6,376 cases were found to have gone to Wembley for a Euro 2020 game when they were likely to have caught coronavirus, and 3,036 went when they were likely to have been infectious.

It said that 2,295 people went to Wembley for the final when they were potentially infectious.

Its report said: "The number of potentially infected persons attending Wembley stadium increased as the tournament progressed, reaching more than 2,000 at the EURO 2020 final despite event goers requiring a COVID pass for entry; this was in contrast with much lower infectious cases detected at other events occurring in the same month.

"This raises questions on the utility of individuals self-reporting tests in reducing the prevalence of COVID infection at rare or special occasion events and the longer term deliverability of self-testing as an option to mitigate disease transmission."

Public Health England added that "significant numbers of ticketless individuals to the area surrounding Wembley Stadium" likely contributed "to the increased infections data around these events".