Boost for major events including Premier League football & music festivals as 'no substantial outbreaks' of Covid found

FUTURE Premier League football matches and large music events were today given a much-needed boost as the results from pilot events found “no substantial outbreaks” of Covid.

Just 28 cases were recorded among the 58,000 people attended during the government’s Events Research Programme.

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Events included the Brit Awards, the FA Cup Final and Carabao Cup Final.

Of the 28 cases found, 11 were identified as being potentially infectious at an event, while a further 17 were potentially infected at or around the time of an event.

The small figure will be welcome news to football fans hoping to watch their team in action next season.

It also is encouraging news for the 60,000 fans looking to go to Wembley for both the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final.

The Brit Awards, which featured an audience of 3,532, recorded zero cases of coronavirus as part of the Government's live events pilot scheme.

The ceremony on May 11 marked the return of live music to London's O2 Arena after more than a year, and the first large-scale indoor music event of 2021.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published the results the day after Andrew Lloyd Webber and others in the entertainment industries launched legal action to force the Government to make its findings public.

Event organisers had expected the results of the programme, which has run test events at sporting, music and arts venues to assess the safety of large gatherings during the pandemic, to be published last week, but the date was pushed back.

The report confirms 28 cases of Covid-19 were recorded during the ERP's first nine events – which featured 58,000 attendees and included the Carabao Cup Final and FA Cup Final.

A 6,100-capacity music festival in Liverpool's Sefton Park on May 2 saw two cases, while the Circus nightclub, which hosted nearly 7,000 people over two nights on April 30 and May 1, logged 10 cases.

Outbreak prevention controls around the Circus nightclub worked well, the DCMS said, and the event was pre-emptively flagged by public health teams as having increased transmission risks.

The report concluded that both indoor and outdoor events carry a risk of transmission but that "pinch points" where attendees may congregate carry greater risk.

Attendees needed a negative lateral flow test to gain access to the events and were also asked to take a voluntary pre and post-event PCR test.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "Our innovative and science-led Events Research Programme is helping us to better understand how the risk of transmission at major events can be effectively mitigated.

"The findings and learnings will help event organisers plan for large audiences as we move to Step 4 of the road map.

"I would like to thank this programme's chief advisers Nicholas Hytner and David Ross, all the event organisers, and the scientists and researchers for their important work."

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