COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The Euro 2020 soccer tournament was on Thursday blamed for a surge in coronavirus cases as fans have flocked to stadiums, bars and spectator zones across Europe to watch the action while the pandemic still raged.
Germany’s interior minister called European soccer’s governing body UEFA “utterly irresponsible” for allowing big crowds at the tournament.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the mixing of crowds in Euro 2020 host cities, travel and easing of social restrictions had driven up the number of new cases rose by 10 percent.
A 10-week decline in new infections across Europe had come to an end and a new wave is inevitable if football fans and others drop their guard, WHO senior emergency officer Catherine Smallwood said in Copenhagen.
“We need to look much beyond just the stadiums themselves,” Smallwood told reporters. “We need to look at how people get there, are they travelling in large crowded convoys of buses? And when they leave the stadiums, are they going into crowded bars and pubs to watch the matches?
These events were driving the spread of the virus, she said.