UPDATE 1-German minister criticizes UEFA decision on busier stadiums
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BERLIN, July 1 (Reuters) – German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has called the decision by European football’s governing body UEFA to allow large crowds at Euro 2020 “totally irresponsible”, especially given the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Seehofer told a press conference that UEFA appeared to have been driven by business considerations, which he said should not come before health concerns.
He said it was inevitable that a match with 60,000 spectators – the number UEFA will allow at Wembley Stadium in London for the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final – would help the spread of COVID – 19, especially considering the Delta variant.
Nearly 2,000 people living in Scotland attended a Euro 2020 event as they were contagious with COVID-19, officials said on Wednesday. Thousands of Scots came to London for their match against England in the group stage of the UEFA European Football Championship on 18 June.
At least 300 Finns who went to cheer on the national team in the Euro 2020 football tournament have contracted COVID-19, health officials said on Tuesday.
The daily infection rate in Finland has risen from around 50 per day to over 200 last week, and that figure is expected to rise in the coming days, they said.
Russian officials last week blamed the new Delta variant for an increase in new infections and deaths in major cities, including St. Petersburg, which is due to host a quarterfinal on Friday. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan)