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Covid warning to English fans heading to Newcastle pubs and fan parks for Euro 2020 quarter-final UK News

Football fans cheering for England in Newcastle over the weekend have been urged to exercise caution – with crowds gathering to watch matches in pubs and fan parks linked to a huge increase in Covid cases.

There have been some wild scenes in the city as Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions beat Croatia, the Czech Republic and Germany – and the nation is now begging for another victory over Ukraine in the quarterfinals of the ‘Euro 2020 Saturday evening.

But supporters have been warned to be on guard if they plan to enjoy the game in a pub or fanzone, like those in Times Square and the Quayside, with cases of the virus in the city skyrocketing.

Read more:North Tyneside Covid cases higher than ever before as young people ‘don’t self-isolate’

Newcastle are now said to be England’s largest Covid hotspot, reporting an infection rate of over 600 per 100,000 people, and public health chiefs believe football crowds are contributing to the rapid increase.

Professor Eugene Milne, the city’s director of public health, said: “I know of anecdotal reports of cases connected through this. [fans watching Euro matches at pubs and fan parks].

“One of the problems when you have a large number of people gathered in one place and you have a high prevalence of the disease, when you look at the information on common exposures, you will probably find that they have been in places where there were large numbers of people.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean the disease has spread to this site, but I think we’re seeing some evidence of it and that wouldn’t surprise me at all.

England supporters in Newcastle celebrate Germany's victory
England fans in Newcastle celebrate Germany’s victory earlier this week

“If you look at the behaviors, these are the behaviors that we have been telling people for months on end that are likely to allow the spread.”

A World Health Organization report this week identified Euro 2020 as a cause of rising infection rates across Europe, with fans gathering both in stadiums in host cities and in pubs.

Professor Milne added, “We always appeal to a sense of responsibility and control over people, a desire to protect themselves, their loved ones and those most at risk.

“It’s understandable that people are fed up with doing it after a long period of time and in some ways the surprise is how well a lot of people have managed to keep it going.

“But please keep going as we are moving forward, the vaccination program is being rolled out and that will make things safer.

“All of the models predicted that we would see an escalation of cases as we followed the roadmap and we are seeing it now. It is likely to increase before falling again, but all models show it will – it’s just a matter of waiting to get there and dealing with the consequences in the meantime, limiting the degree of spread.

“The more people can stick to proven methods of infection prevention, the better.

“Enjoy the football, but take care of yourself and the people you love. “