Liverpool police warn of virus threat after Anfield party
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Warning about the ongoing threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, police have criticized Liverpool fans for partying on the streets in their thousands to celebrate the club ending its 30-year title drought.
Supporters set off fireworks and red flares outside Anfield on Thursday night after Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Manchester City in London clinched the Premier League trophy for Liverpool with seven games remaining.
“The overwhelming majority of fans have recognized the fact that now is not the time to gather together to celebrate, and chose to mark the event safely,” said Rob Carden, assistant chief constable of Merseyside Police. “They are a credit to this city. Unfortunately, as we have seen throughout the lockdown period, not everyone adhered to the regulations in place. Although the vast majority of celebrations were good natured, a large number of people chose to gather outside the stadium.”
More than 1,500 people have died after contracting COVID-19 in the Liverpool region since March.
“In the days ahead, we urge supporters to do the right thing and celebrate safely with members of your household and in your social bubble,” Carden said. “By doing this you keep yourself, your family, friends and neighbours safe. As we all know, Merseyside has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and we must all do what we can to prevent further cases and deaths in our communities.
“We understand people will feel jubilant that Liverpool has secured the league title for the first time in 30 years, and the time will come when fans can return to Anfield to applaud the team and to celebrate their achievement.”
Landmarks around this northwest port city will be lit red for the next week to mark Liverpool’s first English title since 1990.
Joe Anderson, the Everton-supporting mayor of Liverpool, urged fans to adhere to social distancing. Mass gatherings are still banned, including pubs being shut since March, as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“The passion and the enthusiasm and the excitement of fans clearly meant that they were prepared to take risks unfortunately and it’s disappointing ,” Anderson said. “But it’s gone now, it’s over, and what we’ve got to look forward to is making sure that people remain safe now and vigilant at all times in the post-victory of last night.”