COVID at EURO 2020 Reinforced the Need for Digital COVID Pass

  • Richard Marley
  • June 23, 2021
  • 3 minutes read
  • 114

With 2 infected players infiltrating the entire stadium, many are fearing the spread of COVID-19 with the revival of large-scale public events. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, a major question surrounding professional sports was, how would the spread of COVID-19 be contained in such huge crowds? Would the usual events endanger players, coaches, and the surrounding fans? Would the industry be absorbing medical resources that could otherwise be utilized by vulnerable citizens? 

Knowing that a bubble environment, with segregation between players and the community, would not lead to popular seasons, matches were resumed under strict COVID-19 protocols. 

However, protocols are not proving sufficient to contain the spread of the deadly virus. 

In a recent event, two England players missed Tuesday’s Euro 2020 match, after having close contact with a Scotland player who tested positive for COVID-19. 

The two players, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, had been in close contact with the Scottish player, Billy Gilmour, leading to disruption for the two teams at the European Championship. Gilmour will self-isolate for 10 days, whilst Mount and Chilwell’s return dates are not yet clear.

What’s strange is that none of the Scottish players has been told to isolate, even though they all have been together with Billy Gilmour in the dressing room. This has raised serious concerns, especially as the players could have exposed others as well, including the coaches, referee, media persons, and the fans. 

BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said: “[Chilwell and Mount] may have had close contact with Billy Gilmour, but if they continue to test negative, surely they can play. Otherwise, surely every single Scottish player, who all hugged Gilmour after the game, won’t be allowed to play either.”

Such public events need to have proper security systems in place to ensure not only are all the participant athletes, staff members, and spectators vaccinated, but the PCR tests provided are legitimate as well. 

AI-powered solutions such as Digital COVID Pass have proven to be useful in this domain, as they tick both the above-mentioned boxes in one go. This solution, which works without any installation or app download, verifies user identity and authenticates their COVID test in a single go. 

With Digital COVID Pass in place, vaccinated individuals can be filtered out from those that pose a high risk of COVID-19. The application of the solution is not limited to just football stadiums, but can be extended to any public event – be it the Tokyo Olympics, a concert, or even marketing events at shopping malls. 

Following the news of the infected players, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Monday called for the EURO 2020 final to be moved out of London because of the spread of the Delta variant in the UK. 

Suggested Read: Digital COVID Pass: Automated COVID Report Verification