England at Euro 2020 - is COVID coming home?

"Football's coming home" is the chant England soccer fans sing at Euro 2020, but if it is, it might bring coronavirus with it.

That was the warning from medical experts this week as England prepared to face Italy in Sunday's (July 11) final, which thousands of fans are due to attend.

Denis Kinane is an immunologist.

"I think we should be doing more, we should be refraining from hugging as much as we're doing. I can understand it. I can understand the the whole emotion of it and also I think that it would have been nicer if a lot of the fans that we saw coming back from the game etc were donning their masks."

England is facing a new wave of COVID-19 cases and Italy has also seen cases picking up.

Epidemiologists in both countries warn that Euro 2020 might be helping it spread among younger, mainly male, adults.

London's Wembley Stadium has hosted two semi-finals with crowds of around 60,000 people at each game.

The matches were so-called "pilot events", where supporters must test negative or be fully vaccinated on entering Wembley.

Germany has questioned the decision by European soccer's governing body UEFA to allow bigger crowds in stadiums.

While the World Health Organization said it is important to look beyond arenas into pubs and bars where people gather to watch the games.

Keith Still is a professor from Suffolk University.

"So that's the scary thing, though the stadiums are being managed, the fact we now have a whole nation celebrating and rightly so, it's scary because these fan zone areas are not regulated in the same way and they do involve large crowds gathering and celebrating."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged fans this week to support England "enthusiastically but in a responsible way".

But many England fans could barely contain their excitement on Wednesday (July 7) as their national team reached a first major soccer final in 55 years.

Supporters were pictured filling bars, streets and even climbing on top of a London bus after England's 2-1 win over Denmark.

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