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Test event COVID cases found to be in line with community infection rates

Data confirms that "mass participation events can be conducted safely"

  • Safi Bugel
  • 23 August 2021
Test event COVID cases found to be in line with community infection rates

COVID-19 cases linked to the government’s Event Research Programme (ERP) were “largely in line with or below community infection rates,” according to new data.

Drawing on the series of pilot events run earlier this year, findings from NHS Test and Trace has therefore confirmed that “mass participation events can be conducted safely.”

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The pilot events were organised across a four month period in order to determine the safety of large-scale gatherings. Among the 37 events that took place were Download Festival and Latitude (pictured).

Attendees of the Event Research Programme series were required to provide a negative lateral flow test, proof of double vaccination or natural immunity ahead of arriving.

However, the NHS data suggests that “specific aspects” must be approached with caution. Indeed, it warns against the potential risks involved in attending “unstructured events,” from travelling to and from events and mixing indoors before, during and after.

To limit risks, attendees are urged to remain cautious in crowd settings and to get vaccinated.

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Of the findings, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We’ve shown that we can reintroduce mass sports and cultural events safely but it is important that people remain cautious when mixing in very crowded settings.

“So that we can keep the football season, theatres and gigs safe with full crowds this winter, I urge sport, music and culture fans to get the vaccine as this is the safest way we can get big events firing on all cylinders once more.”

Health Minister Lord Bethell commented: “Data is our greatest weapon in the fight against the pandemic, and these pilots inform our approach to mass events, now and in the future.

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“These events and the passion of supporters brought joy to millions of people across the country. But the reports make it clear that they also reinforce the need for us to not let our guard down. We all need to comply with the advice accompanying major events to keep everyone safe and so everyone can safely enjoy these important occasions. We can all keep doing our bit by getting tested regularly and getting the vaccine.”

The NHS Test and Trace press release also states that additional reporting from Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the programme is still being compiled and will be published “in due course.”

Safi Bugel is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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