Euro 2020 matches sparked Norfolk Covid rate rises

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Archant

People gathering to watch Euro 2020 football matches contributed to rising Covid rates in Norfolk, the county's director of public health said.

Rates in Norfolk are now at 220 cases per 100,000 people, with the highest rates in Great Yarmouth (476 cases per 100,000 people) and Norwich (276 cases per 100,000 people).

And Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health, said there was evidence some outbreaks were linked to when people came together to watch some of the Euro 2020 matches, where England made their way to the final before being beaten on penalties by Italy.

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Archant

Speaking on BBC Radio Norfolk, she said: "The cases we are seeing is in young adults, under the age of 40, and we are starting to pick up outbreaks and specific clusters of cases that we are fairly sure we can link back to gatherings linked to the football.

"Some of the ones we are looking at now are from the earlier football matches.

"I've not yet identified any outbreaks linked to the final, but we do feel it is pretty inevitable."

Dr Smith said there 19 people in the county's hospitals who had tested positive for Covid-19 and urged people to continue to be cautious, with vaccines not giving 100pc protection.

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She said: "Ultimately, the hope is, and the expectation is, that we will stop having these waves, because enough people have immunity that the infection never gathers pace."

In the meantime, she urged people to keep washing their hands and wearing masks indoors, ensuring places have good ventilation.

And, amid rising instances of people being "pinged" by the NHS app and told to self isolate after close contacts tested positive, Dr Smith advised companies not to have all their staff together in one group if possible.

She said: "That is coming from confirmed positive cases and in Norfolk we are getting about 385 cases a day.

"The only way that we can prevent harm from more people being infected is by finding cases early and then preventing the spread.

"I do understand that is really difficult for employers. And, for some businesses, the advice is keep people working from home where that is possible."

She urged businesses not to have all their staff together in one group, as business continuity was dependent on having separate bubbles.

The council last week launched its IChoose campaign urging people to keep taking action to prevent the spread of the virus.

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