Danish officials say delta variant reported during Euro 2020

Jun 23, 2021, 2:20 PM | Updated: Jun 24, 2021, 9:20 am

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — At least seven people have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending European Championship soccer games in Copenhagen, Danish health officials said Thursday.

Authorities urged thousands of fans who were at Denmark’s game against Belgium on June 17 to get checked for the virus after at least five people were found to be positive with the delta variant.

Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that about 4,000 people sat near at least some of those who tested positive.

The other two positive cases stemmed from the team’s game against Russia on Monday.

“I don’t know which variant it is, but again that’s a match where people are sitting very close together,” said Thomas Rydahl, the head of the safety and security services for the games in Copenhagen.

Also, Finnish broadcaster YLE reported that at least 80 infections have been found in people who entered Finland from Russia in recent days. They reportedly were soccer fans returning from St. Petersburg, where Finland played two of its Euro 2020 matches.

Authorities in the Russian city tightened anti-coronavirus restrictions last week in an effort to curb a spike in new infections. That included closing food courts in the city’s shopping malls and its Euro 2020 fan zone.

Separately, the governing body of European soccer said Thursday it was “satisfied with the overall situation” in the tournament’s 11 host stadiums across the continent, where public authorities take the lead on managing virus issues.

“The overall rates of positive results following the group stage of the Euro 2020 tournament are still marginally low,” UEFA said in a statement.

All those who attended the three Euro 2020 games in Copenhagen had to provide valid documents showing they were not infected with COVID-19 before being allowed to enter Parken Stadium.

About 25,000 fans attended the host team’s game against Belgium as restrictions began to ease in the country. Only about 16,000 were allowed inside the stadium for Denmark’s opening match against Finland.

The head of the Danish Agency for Patient Safety said the people were infected independently of each other and were infected during the game.

“They did not get symptoms until three or four days later, which means that there must have been some kind of unknown source of infection present in the section where they sat,” Anette Lykke Petri told Danish broadcaster DR.

Denmark has reported 249 case of the delta variant since April 2.

“In our risk assessment, we have expected somewhere between 10 to 20 infected,” Rydahl said.

“We trace persons that way that every ticket holder needs to register with their name and contact details so we know for each seat who has been sitting there,” Rydahl added. “Then we can provide those data through the ticketing system to the authorities.”

The Danish Patient Safety Authority said there is no recommendation to go in isolation.

Copenhagen will host one more match at Euro 2020 on Monday in the round of 16. Spain will face Croatia in that game. Denmark next plays against Wales in Amsterdam on Saturday.

The cases in Copenhagen and Finland are among the most notable virus intrusions on Euro 2020, which was postponed after the pandemic was declared last year.

Only a few players from the 24 teams have tested positive and missed games. England players Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell had to self-isolate as close contacts of Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for COVID-19. The three Chelsea teammates had a long talk in the tunnel after their teams played last Friday in London.

UEFA used the first day of no games at Euro 2020 since June 11 to update on managing virus risks.

Asked how Gilmour got the virus within the tournament bubble, Euro 2020 chief medical officer Dr. Zoran Bahtijarevic said it was “extremely hard to trace where the infection happened, almost impossible.”

Bahtijarevic, the long-time Croatian national team doctor, said a couple of UEFA staff members have tested positive in the 11 different cities hosting games.

“So far we did not really find any unusual results, any unusual peaks,” he said, “that are connected with the mass event.”

___

AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A pitch invader runs across the field with a rainbow flag during the World Cup group H soccer match...
Associated Press

Protester with rainbow flag banned from World Cup matches

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The protester who ran onto the field during a World Cup match carrying a rainbow flag and wearing a blue Superman T-shirt with messages in support of Ukraine and Iranian women was banned Tuesday from attending any more matches during the tournament in Qatar. The World Cup organizing committee said in […]
1 day ago
FILE — Voria Ghafouri, right, fights for the ball with Iraqi midfielder Hussein Ali, during the A...
Associated Press

Iran releases soccer player ahead of match against US

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities said Tuesday that a former member of the national soccer team arrested last week over his criticism of the government has been released on bail. The announcement came hours before Iran was set to play the U.S. at the World Cup in a match that authorities are heavily promoting […]
1 day ago
Cameroon's head coach Rigobert Song arrives to the field for the World Cup group G soccer match bet...
Associated Press

Cameroon goalkeeper Onana leaves World Cup after dispute

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana has apparently left the World Cup and is going home after being dropped from the country’s squad for disciplinary reasons. A photo posted by a Cameroonian journalist on social media shows the Inter Milan goalkeeper at the airport on Tuesday. The Cameroon team spokesman did not […]
1 day ago
Associated Press correspondent Isabel DeBre films a selfie video in front of Lusail Stadium in Lusa...
Associated Press

4 World Cup matches in 1 day? An AP reporter’s challenge

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Qatar’s World Cup is the most compact in history, with all eight stadiums radiating from the capital city in a country smaller than the U.S. state of Connecticut and the two farthest stadiums barely 41 miles (66 kilometers) apart. That led to a question during the tournament’s group stage: Can a […]
1 day ago
Canada head coach John Herdman yells as Canada forward Alphonso Davies (19) looks on during the sec...
Associated Press

Canada heads home from the World Cup with work to be done

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — While Canada is understandably disappointed to be heading home following the World Cup’s group stage, in a way the team’s work is just beginning with an eye toward 2026. The Canadians will turn their attention to their preparation for the next World Cup, which they will co-host with the United States […]
1 day ago
Spain's head coach Luis Enrique walks off the pitch with the players at the end of the World Cup gr...
Associated Press

Veterans keep important role in Spain’s young World Cup team

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After the final whistle of Spain’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the World Cup on Sunday, coach Luis Enrique went out to the field and began talking to some of his players. He spent more time with one in particular, Sergio Busquets, the only remaining member of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad […]
1 day ago
Danish officials say delta variant reported during Euro 2020