Home >News >World >'Devastating': WHO on lack of covid awareness at Euro 2020 soccer final match

The Covid-19 technical lead at World Health Organisation (WHO) exclaimed that she has been devastated at the sight of unmasked supporters singing and shouting during the Euro 2020 football final match in London on Sunday. The senior epidemiologist expressed concerns over rapid transmission of Covid-19, and the Delta variant, among unprotected spectators in the crowd.

Maria Van Kerkhove, infectious disease epidemiologist at WHO, tweeted: "Am I supposed to be enjoying watching transmission happening in front of my eyes?"

"The #COVID19 pandemic is not taking a break tonight… #SARSCoV2 #DeltaVariant will take advantage of unvaccinated people, in crowded settings, unmasked, screaming/shouting/singing. Devastating," she further added.

Britain is witnessing a new wave of Covid-19 driven by the more transmissible Delta variant, despite maintaining one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. To the dismay of several scientists, the nation is even planning to scrap most of its remaining anti-coronavirus restrictions on July 19.

On Sunday, alcohol-fuelled festivities had begun in central London as tens of thousands of fans arrived that the Wembley Stadium for the Euro 2020 final game, with flares being let off in railway stations and singing on trains. Over 60,000 spectators watched the final at the national stadium, several of them without masks.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this month defended the decision to allow tens of thousands of people to attend the final, saying it was being hosted in a "careful and controlled manner with testing of everybody who goes there". He says vaccines have created a "considerable wall of immunity".

Globally, the rate of COVID-19 infection is rising. WHO has warned that the pandemic is far from slowing down even as vaccination drives are going on full steam across the world. There were over 2.6 million new cases last week, with Europe experiencing a sharp increase of 30 per cent, showed the latest WHO epidemiological update. More than 4 million people have lost their lives to the virus since the start of the pandemic.

The WHO's emergencies head Michael Ryan also urged countries last week to use extreme caution when lifting COVID-19 restrictions, so as "not to lose the gains you've made".

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