'Only access to Wembley with green pass,' says Sileri
LONDON - With thousands of Italians expected to travel to London for the final of the European Championships on Sunday, many staying at home have expressed fear of a major outbreak of coronavirus given the vast and ever rising number of cases in the UK.
Speaking regarding the matches at Wembley (semi-finals and final) being a possible 'super-spreader event,' the British Secretary of State for Business, Kwasi Kwarteng said, "I think we can manage this risk but to say there is no risk, if you have thousands of people in one place... there's always risk in life. I think we're managing the risk. I'm confident there won't be a big outbreak but we can't guarantee that now."
There were around 60,000 (out of a possible 90,000) people packed into Wembley Stadium on Wednesday for England's semifinal victory over Denmark, and though all fans were required to show proof either of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test, there is definite risk of contagion, especially with fans not required to wear masks.
The lax safety restrictions worrying Italian fans are in line with the British plans, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week, to get rid of all restrictions and social distancing measures by July 19.
Pierpaolo Sileri, the Italian Deputy Health Minister has said, regarding the match on Sunday, "I would allow access only with the [green] pass, that is, you enter the stadium either vaccinated, negative swab done or if you have already recovered from Covid." The goal, Sileri continues, is "to reduce the chances that someone can contract the Delta variant and then maybe bring it back to their place of origin."
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is flying 1,000 Italian fans to London, in chartered flights, to sit in one reserved section of the stadium, as a way of keeping them as much as possible in a 'bubble.' They will also be required to only stay in England for 12 hours, as well as having to take a negative test and quarantine for five days on return to Italy.
Some virologists and politicians have also expressed worries about the street parties that erupt whenever Italy win, and the doubtless even bigger party that will take place throughout the country if Italy win on Sunday. The virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco called it an "uncalculated risk," adding that "the scenes we have seen are somthing deadly."
"It is clear that we will inevitably pay for something in terms of infection, with some outbreaks," said Massimo Andreoni, Head of Infectious Diseases at the Policlinico Tor Vergata in Rome. "Whenever there are gatherings and an uncontrolled condition something emerges."