A Champions League fixture last month involving Atlanta and Valenica has been attributed to have led to the spread of coronavirus in Italy and Spain. On February 19, around 44,000 fans gathered to watch the two teams at the San Siro in Milan with Atlanta playing host and that is now being labelled as a ‘biological bomb’. Also Read - Tika Utsav Day 1: Over 27 Lakh People Receive Coronavirus Vaccine Jabs Today

Bergamo mayor Giorgio Gori claims the mingling of fans during and after the match led to  a rapid spread of the virus that has claimed 7,503 lives in Italy with total infected cases zooming to 74,386 at the time of publishing this story. Also Read - Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh Have Faulty COVID-19 Measures: Govt

“The match was a biological bomb,” Gori has been reported to have said on Facebook. “At that time we did not know what was happening. If the virus was already circulating, the forty thousand fans who went to San Siro were infected. No one knew that the virus was already circulating among us.” Also Read - PSL 2021 Schedule: Despite COVID-19 Surge, Pakistan Super League to Resume From June 1

“Many watched the game in groups and there were lots of contact [among fans] that night. The virus passed from one person to another,” he added.

Atlanta’s stadium is undergoing renovation meaning they play their Champions League matches at the San Siro in Milan. The travelling fans of both the clubs may have carried back the virus to Bergamo and Valencia.

A Bergamo doctor has also supported the theory.  “What happened was that 40,000 Atalanta fans travelled down together, went and celebrated before and afterwards and returned home. What they hadn’t realised was that many of them were infected, because at that point [February 19] there had not been one death in Italy. Three weeks later, 3,033 people died in a week in Bergamo,” Off The Ball quoted the doctor as telling journalist Paddy Agnew.

“What the scientists believe is that an awful lot of those people were carriers, they went to that match and brought it home. A lot of people live with older relatives and they gave it to them; they subsequently have died.”