Euro 2020: lack of awareness of COVID-19 is “devastating”, according to WHO expert

A World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist said she was devastated to see unmasked crowds singing and shouting during the Euro 2020 football final in London on Sunday, fearing it would boost the transmission of COVID-19.

Britain is facing a new wave of coronavirus, driven by the highly transmissible variant Delta, despite one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. It plans to remove most of the remaining anti-coronavirus restrictions on July 19, which worries some scientists.


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In unusually candid comments from the United Nations health agency, which typically refrains from commenting on the policies of individual member states, its COVID-19 technical manager, Maria Van Kerkhove, called the sight of the more than 60,000 spectators during the match between Italy and England “devastating.”

“Am I supposed to enjoy watching the transmission unfold in front of my eyes?” She tweeted at the end of the match.

“The # COVID19 pandemic is not taking a break tonight … # SARSCoV2 #DeltaVariant will benefit the unvaccinated, overcrowded, unmasked, screaming / screaming / singing. Devastating.”

A day of alcohol-fueled festivities had started with rowdy scenes in central London and tens of thousands marched to the National Stadium for the match, with flares launched at stations and singing in trains .

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this month defended the decision to allow more than 60,000 people to attend the final, saying it was organized in “a cautious and controlled manner, with tests on everyone who s’ make it “. He argued that vaccines have created a “considerable wall of immunity”.

Globally, the rate of COVID-19 infection is increasing. There were more than 2.6 million new cases last week, with Europe recording a sharp increase of 30%, the WHO said in its latest epidemiological update.

More than 4 million people have died since the start of the pandemic.

WHO Emergency Chief Michael Ryan also urged countries last week to exercise extreme caution when lifting COVID-19 restrictions, urging them “not to lose the gains you have. carried out “.

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