Angela Merkel voiced her contentment with the sight of thousands of fans at the France-Germany football match but added that full-house games (referring to those in Hungary) raise safety concerns of exposure to the virus. In a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, the German chancellor explained that she is skeptical of whether such an approach is appropriate for the current pandemic situation, especially given the sudden outbreak of Delta variant cases.
It is clear that Merkel was referring to the Hungarian government’s decision to allow all seats at the Puskás Arena to be filled for the two European Football Championship matches when she brought up the issue. In Munich, it was only every fifth seat which fans could occupy in the interest of social distancing.
Hungary’s Full-House Football Games Could Cause an Outbreak
The chancellor emphasized that we need to be careful, and cannot pretend that the pandemic is over. As an example of what could happen in Hungary, she brought up Lisbon, where a resurgence of cases was recorded due to the arrival of the more infectious Delta variant.
"We are always ready to host a prestigious football event", the Hungarian Football Association said.Continue reading
The resurgence and subsequent quarantine announced in the Portuguese capital comes after many British football fans were allowed into the country for a Manchester City-Chelsea match. In England, the Delta variant is responsible for 90 percent of cases.
Rise of Delta Variant Calls for Care and Caution
75,953 cases of the Delta variant were sequenced in the United Kingdom up until June 16. By June 14, 2,853 cases were identified in the US, 747 in Germany, 277 in Spain and 97 in Denmark. The actual number of cases is likely to be much higher.
The delta variant is the most virulent and transmissible form of the coronavirus so far. It is 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which was already 50 percent more transmissible than the original strain.