GENEVA, July 12 (Reuters) – A WHO epidemiologist said he was devastated to see unmasked crowds singing and shouting at the Euro 2020 football final in London on Sunday, expressing concern that it would drive COVID -19 transmissions, including variants Delta.
Britain is facing a new wave of COVID-19 driven by a more easily transmitted variant despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. It plans to lift the remaining anti-coronavirus blockade on July 19, in an action that worries some scientists. read again
In unusual comments from the UN health body, which usually does not comment on the policies of each member state, COVID-19 technical leader Maria Van Kerkhove called the sight of more than 60,000 spectators at the match between Italy and Britain “crushing”.
“Should I enjoy watching the transmission unfold right before my eyes?” he tweeted at the final stage of the match.
“The # COVID19 pandemic doesn’t stop for a moment tonight … # SARSCoV2 #DeltaVariant will take advantage of unvaccinated people, in a crowded, unmasked atmosphere, screaming / shouting / singing. Destroying.”
The day of the alcohol -fueled celebration was kicked off with a rowdy scene in central London and tens of thousands of people headed to the national stadium for the game, with flares unleashed at train stations and singing on trains. read again
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this month defended the decision to allow more than 60,000 people to attend the final, saying it was held with “caution and control by testing everyone who went there”. He says that the vaccine has created a “substantial wall of immunity”. read again
Globally, COVID-19 infection rates are increasing. There were more than 2.6 million new cases last week, with Europe experiencing a sharp increase of 30%, the WHO said in its latest epidemiological update.
More than 4 million people have died since the outbreak began.
WHO emergency chief Michael Ryan also urged countries last week to be careful when lifting the COVID-19 ban, so as not to “lose the profits you’ve made”. read again
Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Kevin Liffey
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