COVID outbreak as 1,300 cases linked to England v Scotland match at Euro 2020

·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
TOPSHOT - Scotland supporters gather in Leicester Square in central London ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 European Football Championship football match between England and Scotland in London on June 18, 2021. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland supporters in Leicester Square ahead of the England game on 18 June. (Getty Images)

Nearly 1,300 coronavirus cases in Scotland have been linked to football fans watching the England Euro 2020 match in London.

Overall, 1,991 infections have been linked to Scotland's three Euro 2020 games.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) said nearly two-thirds of these – 1,294 people – reported travelling to London to watch the England v Scotland game on 18 June.

Some 397 of these were fans who attended the game at Wembley Stadium, which was limited to a 22,500 capacity.

Watch: Scotland fans party in London ahead of England Euros clash

On the day, thousands more Scottish fans packed out central London landmarks such as Leicester Square.

Travel between the two nations was allowed, though the authorities had urged ticketless Scotland fans not to do so.

London mayor Sadiq Khan had warned on 16 June that ticketless fans gathering in London risked creating a spike in COVID-19 cases due to the 60% more infectious Delta variant.

He said: "In an ideal world I would welcome the Tartan Army to London for this match with open arms, but with COVID cases increasing, and with so much at stake as we fight this awful virus, I’m afraid that it just cannot be this time.

"So the best thing to do is not to come to London and instead enjoy the game at home.”

Scottish culture minister Jenny Gilruth also "strongly urged" fans to only travel if they had a ticket "or a safe place to watch the match from".

One fan pointed out on the day that crowds of fans from Scotland were “inevitable” due to the “once-in-a-generation” nature of the event.

Gary, a Glaswegian living in London who did not want to give his surname, said people likely made an “educated assessment of the risk”.

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He said: “It was inevitable, regardless of restrictions in place. You can’t stop the masses coming down to celebrate a once in a generation event.

“We’re in a situation where we’ve had enough vaccinations so we have some protection. Obviously there’s the risk with the Delta variant, but I think there’s been an educated assessment of the risk."

The PHS report also said a “relatively small number” of cases in Scotland were linked to the Euro 2020 fanzone at Glasgow Green at 55, while 38 and 37 respectively were linked to Scotland v Croatia and Scotland v Czech Republic at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

The report states: “PHS is working with Test & Protect and NHS boards to ensure that all public health actions are taken in the close contacts of these Euro 2020 cases, as part of the 32,539 cases that were reported to the Test & Protect Case Management System during this period [11 to 28 June]."

Watch: Sadiq Khan warning to Scotland fans in London without tickets for Wembley clash

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