Euro 2020: With concern over rising COVID cases – how does Londons infection rate compare to other host cities

Wembley Stadium has been confirmed as the venue for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020.

Earlier on Tuesday it was announced more than 60,000 football fans will be allowed to attend the last three games of the tournament.

And with Wembley expected to be 75% full – they will be the largest crowds at UK sporting events in more than 15 months.

This is despite questions being raised about whether the Euro 2020 final should be moved from London because of Britain’s rising coronavirus infections.

The Italian prime minister had suggested he would try to stop the finals being played in the UK due to the rising infection rates.

German chancellor Angela Merkel also expressed concern about the rise in cases of the Delta variant in Britain.

And UEFA, football’s governing body in Europe, reportedly warned that it will move the match from London to Hungary unless quarantine rules are waived for its officials.

But are infection rates any better in the capitals of Germany, Italy and Hungary?

Since the beginning of June, COVID-19 cases in the UK have been rising. Infection rates in London have risen three-fold in that time.

The Delta variant, which makes up nearly all the cases reported in the UK, has been behind the steep rise in cases.

The variant’s ability to reduce a vaccine’s effectiveness and its increased transmissibility has led to restrictions being imposed on travellers from the UK.

Early this week, Italy introduced a mandatory five-day quarantine for visitors from the UK despite its tourism sector being dependent on British travellers.

Another way of looking at this is through hospital admission rates which have tracked the trend in cases. Although admissions in the UK remain low – around 5% of the peak in January – the number of daily new patients has doubled since May.

Admissions have continued to fall in Germany and Italy.

As far as vaccinations go, the UK has administered more doses per person than any other European country.

However, EU nations are catching up.

Hungary, where the vaccine rollout was slow to start, now rivals the UK in its coverage. The pace of Hungary’s programme has slowed in recent weeks however.

With 51 matches and more than 400,000 fans expected to attend matches during the tournament, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says it has begun what it calls “enhanced epidemic intelligence” to monitor the spread of the virus.

The ECDC’s director Andrea Ammon said fans should “remember that the pandemic is not over” and “we must remain vigilant in the face of any rise in infections.”

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