Speculation about a possible link between the coronavirus cases in Liverpool and the club’s Champions League match with Atletico Madrid last month is an “interesting assumption,” said a British government science advisor.
Some deaths from coronaviruses in Liverpool were attributed to the March 11 match at Anfield, which brought together over 52,000 people, including 3,000 from Madrid, where a partial lockout was already in effect.
Although there is no confirmed link between the match and any case of coronavirus, the government’s deputy chief science advisor, Angela McLean, said that it merits further investigation.
“It will be very interesting to see in the future, when all the science is done, what relationship there is between the viruses that have circulated in Liverpool and the viruses that have circulated in Spain,” she told the daily British government coronavirus. briefing Monday.
Liverpool City Council director of public health Matthew Ashton had previously told the Guardian that the match should have been canceled, while Madrid’s mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said over the weekend that it was a “mistake” to allow thousands of Atletico fans to attend.
“It made no sense that 3,000 Atletico fans could go to Anfield at that time,” Martinez-Almedia told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.
The latest figures show that 246 people died from coronavirus in NHS hospitals in Liverpool.
Madrid, on the other hand, is one of the most affected cities in Europe. Spain has the second highest number of confirmed infections in the world, behind the United States, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
The death toll in the country climbed nearly 21,000 on Monday.
Speaking at Monday’s press conference, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak has dismissed claims that the government was too slow to cancel major sporting events in the days leading up to the coronavirus lockout.
The Cheltenham Festival, as well as Liverpool’s Champions League game with Atletico, took place during the second week of March. There were 251,684 race participants during the four days of the Festival, while 68,500 watched the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 13.
Strict limits on daily life – such as staying at home, closing many businesses, and preventing gatherings of more than two people – were introduced on March 23.
“There is often a wrong time to put in place certain measures, thinking about sustainability and everything in between,” said Sunak.
“In all areas, we have been guided by this science, we have been guided by making the right decisions at the right time, and I stand by that. “
BBC sports editor Dan Roan:
It is the furthest away that a senior government adviser has gone on to admit that there may be a connection between Liverpool’s game against Atletico Madrid and the epidemic of coronavirus from which the city has since suffered. Admittedly, Deputy Chief Science Advisor Angela McLean did not rule out a link when questioned by a Liverpool Echo reporter.
At this point, it’s unclear if – and to what extent – the Champions League match contributed to the ensuing wave of deaths on Merseyside. (Just as we don’t know how many of a quarter of a million racing fans who visited the Cheltenham Festival in the same week caught the virus from his presence.)
But since the match, there has been growing concern that thousands of fans of one of the first European epicenters of the pandemic have been allowed to travel to Anfield, even after Spain closed schools and banned them. mass gatherings. Two days later, of course, the Premier League suspended the season, effectively taking the decision from the hands of the government.
McLean’s comments could add pressure to the government, those who advised the ministers of the day and the Uefa.