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‘No substantial COVID outbreaks’ reported after mass test events, report finds

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“No substantial outbreaks” of COVID-19 were reported after a series of pilot events in April and May bringing together thousands of people.

Special events held in April and May were attended by 58,000 people – including the Brit Awards ceremony, the FA Cup Final, the World Snooker Championship and a clubbing event.

The report said 28 cases of COVID-19 were recorded during the Events Research Programme’s (ERP) first nine indoor and outdoor events across the country, at venues including Liverpool, Sheffield and London.

Image: The FA Cup Final was one of the pilot events

Of these, 11 were identified as “potentially infectious at an event”, while a further 17 were “potentially infected at or around the time of the event”, according to the report, published on Friday.

The Brit Awards, which featured an audience of 3,532, recorded zero cases of coronavirus.

The events were monitored with cameras and Wi-Fi data. Participants were also asked to take a series of tests.

Dua Lipa performs during the Brit Awards 2021
Image: Dua Lipa performs during the Brit Awards 2021

But chief advisers for the ERP, Nicholas Hytner and David Ross, warned the report “does not make conclusive public health recommendations on the reopening of events at this stage.”

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And they highlighted how the studies took place when prevalence of coronavirus was low.

“Future public health measures need to adapt to prevailing levels and patterns of the virus”, they added.

“Mitigation measures” – such as wearing face coverings, ventilation, testing, social distancing and food and drink restrictions – could help to manage risks at events.

Large crowd events do have the potential for “increased pressure on pinch points” such as toilets and food and drink outlets, the report found.