Soccer

European CDC links nearly 2,500 COVID-19 cases to soccer tournament

European health officials have linked about 2,500 COVID-19 infections to attendance at the European Championship soccer tournament.

As of July 1, seven countries have reported a total of 2,472 infections linked to the matches, according to the European Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s weekly disease threat report. The cases were found primarily in Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden and Scotland.

The largest numbers of cases were reported in Finland and Scotland.

The spikes were likely due to fans returning home after becoming infected while attending matches or events in host countries. Among the tournament’s host countries, an increase of COVID-19 cases was recently reported in Russia, Azerbaijan, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

The majority of new cases in the U.K. are the delta variant, the agency said. Vaccination rates are higher in Britain than the rest of Europe, which is helping keep deaths down despite rising cases.

In the countries where mass gathering events such as UEFA EURO 2020 take place, in the absence of sufficient mitigation measures the risk of local and pan-European transmission risk of COVID-19, including the spread of variants of concern, is expected to increase,” the agency said.

Last week, the World Health Organization warned that rising COVID-19 infections across the region were driven by increased mixing, travel and gatherings occurring while the highly contagious delta variant spreads rapidly.

British officials are allowing 60,000 fans to attend each of the tournament’s three final games in London this week.

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