The increase in cases of the coronavirus and the discovery of clusters in one of the most prestigious competitions in Europe, namely Euro 2020, is reviving the debate on the presence of supporters in the stadiums. Will the closed session be imposed once again because of the danger of the Delta variant?
Many countries have been forced to reimpose restrictions as they fight epidemics accelerated by the Delta variant that was first detected in India, while trying to increase vaccinations to allow their economies to reopen.
Some spectators have reportedly contracted the coronavirus after attending Euro 2020 football matches. The risk of infection is real and the Delta variant as well as the presence of thousands of people during Euro 2020, did not helped things.
For multi-city tournaments, such as the Euro 2020 football competition, vaccines and testing have kept fans returning in greater numbers, with 60,000 allowed to attend each of the last three matches in London.
More recently, the Scottish Health Authority found that 1,991 Scottish fans who tested positive for the coronavirus had previously attended European Championship events, including stadiums in London and Glasgow, as well as fan festivals, pub screenings and private football nights.
According to the report, 397 infected fans watched the England v Scotland match at Wembley Stadium in London on June 18 and may have unknowingly spread the virus there.
There have also been a number of cases of the coronavirus after the Finland v Belgium game, which took place in St. Petersburg, Russia. In Denmark, spectators tested positive for the delta variant after the game between the hosts and Belgium.
At least 86 infections have been detected in people returning home from Russia. In most cases, it is not clear whether they were infected in the stadium itself or elsewhere, such as while traveling to or from the game.
On top of that, three spectators tested positive for the delta variant in Copenhagen after the game between hosts Denmark and Belgium. In Budapest, a French family reportedly tested positive after France’s match against Hungary.
Experts agree that the risk of contracting the coronavirus at outdoor events is relatively low because the fresh air dilutes the aerosols. It is the airborne particles produced by breathing and speaking that carry the virus. But only if the minimum personal distance from others is maintained.
Could the return of supporters to stadiums accelerate the spread of the Delta variant?
The number of infections caused by the Delta variant and supporters at Euro 2020 can weigh on the balance as to a total return of fans during competitions but also championships.
In Morocco, the wait is long, since the easing of health restrictions after the month of Ramadan. If several fans have nourished the hope of finding the land, the extension of the health emergency and the increase in cases in many cities of the Kingdom have come to throw a cold.
Even more, the government which authorized the reopening of cinemas or theaters with limited capacity has not said a word about sport and in particular football, preferring to play it safe and still keep it in camera, despite the asks many clubs who believe that the absence of supporters for the next few months could cause enormous damage to their finances.
Indeed, supporters have not set foot in Moroccan stadiums since last March, the date of the start of the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Allow spectators, an “irresponsible” decision
At the international level, since the start of Euro 2020, many researchers and politicians have found the number of authorized spectators irresponsible.
Although the European Championship has helped increase the rate of infection in the regions and countries where the games are held, many experts consider the risk of the tournament to be responsible for the spread of the delta variant in Europe. is weak. This is because only a relatively small number of visitors would travel in and out of each country.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, holds the European Football Championship in part responsible for the fact that the number of cases in some parts of Europe is on the rise again. WHO expert Catherine Smallwood recently spoke of a “End of a 10-week drop” coronavirus infections in Europe.
Elsewhere, but also in the Kingdom, the return of supporters could only be considered when the phase of mass vaccination of the population against covid-19 reaches a higher stage.