July 10 (UPI) -- London police urged soccer fans without tickets to stay away from Sunday's Euro 2020 final between England and Italy to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
As new daily coronavirus cases rose above 30,000 for the first time since January across Britain this week due to the quick-spreading variant, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor on Saturday pleaded with ticketless fans to stay home and away from Wembley Stadium.
"If you don't have a ticket to the matches, fan zone or officially booked into a pub, bar or club, my message is clear -- please do not come to London," Taylor said in a video message posted to Twitter.
"We want people to be able to enjoy the Euros 2020 final safely and securely, to behave responsibly and consider the safety and welfare of others," he added.
Taylor warned there will be a "big policing response in place" before and during the game against Italy, in which England will play in the final of a major international soccer tournament for the first time since 1966.
That has produced a national euphoria which could clash with existing COVID-19 restrictions in England, which are not scheduled to be lifted until July 19. Those include limits of up to six people from six households (or two households of any size) allowed to meet in a pub.
About 60,000 fans will be allowed into Wembley for the final. Ticketholders aged 11 or over needing to prove they are fully vaccinated.Researchers at Imperial College London said this week that the number of Britons testing positive for the coronavirus is continuing to rise rapidly, recently doubling every six days.
The variant-driven epidemic has grown in all parts of England but most notably in London, where infections rose by eight-fold, its new study found.
Part of the reason could be soccer fans gathering in homes and pubs to watch England play in Euro 2020, Imperial College professor Steven Riley told Sky News.