News ID: 268028
Published: 0333 GMT April 21, 2020

Liverpool vs. Atlético virus links 'interesting hypothesis': UK government scientist

Liverpool vs. Atlético virus links 'interesting hypothesis': UK government scientist

Links between the outbreak of coronavirus in Liverpool and the Champions League tie at Anfield attended by more than 3,000 Atlético Madrid supporters should be explored, a government scientist acknowledged on Monday.

Supporters traveled from Madrid to attend the game on March 11 when Spain’s capital was already implementing a partial lockdown. This month Liverpool city council’s director of public health, Matthew Ashton, told the Guardian the fixture should have been called off, and at the weekend the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, said it was a “mistake” to allow the fans to attend, the Guardian reported.

New figures show that 246 people have died with coronavirus in Liverpool’s NHS hospitals, increasing anger over the decision to allow the game to go ahead. The government’s deputy chief scientific adviser, Angela McLean, said at the daily coronavirus press conference at Downing Street the link between the illness in the two cities “is an interesting hypothesis”.

She told a reporter from the Liverpool Echo, “I’m genuinely sad to hear that so many people in Liverpool have been unwell and so many have died. I think it would 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.”

McLean said the general policy at the time was that attending football games was not seen as a large “extra risk”. The fixture, which resulted in Liverpool going out of the Champions League after losing 3-2, was held at a time when the city of Liverpool had just six confirmed cases of coronavirus. Madrid had by then become a center for the spread of the virus. Spain’s top league, La Liga, decided that day that all matches must be played behind closed doors.




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