“No major outbreaks” of Covid-19 recorded following government mass pilot events

A new government report suggests that mass gatherings can be held safely

Updated on 29 June 2021 • Written By Eamonn Crowe

“No major outbreaks” of Covid-19 recorded following government mass pilot events

A government report has revealed that just 28 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed following nine large-scale public events used to monitor the impact on transmission of the virus, with “no major outbreaks” recorded.

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Between April and May, a total of around 58,000 people were allowed to attend large indoor and outdoor gatherings, with pilot events including the Brit awards, the FA Cup final and two nightclub events in Liverpool.

The events were given the go ahead as part of The Events Research Programme, which was commissioned by prime minister Boris Johnson in February, in order to see how mass gatherings could once again be held safely and which measures would need to be put in place to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The report found that large-scale indoor events could post "a higher potential risk of transmission" because of close contact and poor ventilation, but also noted that “pinch points” (where people are crowded together for a period of time) exist at both indoor and outdoor events. The report adds that face coverings, testing, restrictions on food and drink, ventilation and social distancing could all be used to reduce the risk of transmission.

Although the small number of confirmed cases recorded at these events suggests a win for the event industry, it is important to note that at the time, virus levels in England were low and testing before and after events was also low, making it difficult to draw conclusions from the report. The report also makes it clear that no decisions had been taken on fully reopening mass events.

The current date for the final easing of lockdown restrictions in England is 19 July, but the prime minister has not ruled out an extension.

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