OREANDA-NEWS. The European Football Championship contributes to the increase in the number of coronavirus infections on the continent. This conclusion was reached by experts of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) based on the results of observations in the first three weeks of Euro 2020.

During this period, more than 2,500 cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in seven European countries, which may be associated with Euro 2020, according to experts of the European Health Authority. This development was not unexpected, says Vicki Lefebvre, head of the public health department at the ECDC, since large events with a large number of visitors are still associated with the risk of spreading infection.

The most widespread cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection, which are associated with Euro 2020, were registered in Scotland in 1991. The Scottish national team played two matches of the group tournament at stadiums in London and Glasgow. Vicki Lefevre noted that the delta option had not yet begun to spread when plans were being made to hold Euro 2020 matches with the participation of tens of thousands of spectators at stadiums. Currently, in the UK, the majority of new cases of infection are due to the highly contagious delta variant.

In Finland, 436 cases of coronavirus infection were detected in connection with the European Football Championship — most of them after Finnish fans attended a match with their national team that took place in St. Petersburg.A small number of infections were detected in Denmark, France, Sweden, Croatia and the Netherlands.

Experts cannot determine exactly where football fans were infected. In their opinion, this could happen both at stadiums and in fan zones, during a trip to the venue of the match, or during private meetings before or after matches. Fan's trips to matches in countries with less favorable epidemiological conditions may contribute to the spread of the virus after they return home, the ECDC warns. In the end, the decision to hold the World Cup was «political», due to the «risk that the authorities of the countries that hosted the matches of the tournament were willing to take», Vicky Lefevre emphasizes.