The Catalan government says it has gleaned “valuable information” about how major events could take place in the future from a study of three festivals that took place in early July.
The three festivals – Cruïlla, Vida and Canet Rock – went ahead using recommendations from the Love of Lesbian test concert which they co-organised along with Primavera Sound (which organised the Primacov test), Sónar and Festival de Jazz de Barcelona.
All three festivals took place without social distancing and with attendees wearing mandatory FFP2 masks. Entry to the festivals was dependent on a negative result from a Covid-19 rapid test.
Despite finding a high number of infections among concertgoers, the department of culture says its study will prove highly beneficial when it comes to improving protocols and security measures for festivals.
The department’s study found that 2,279 attendees of the festivals contracted Covid-19 – 76% more than the cases recorded in a control group.
The department’s study found that 2,279 attendees of the festivals contracted Covid-19
The nearly 50,000 people who attended the events were compared to a control group with the same breakdown of age, sex, residence and immunity during the days the events took place.
The study found that 466 attendees of Vida, 956 of Canet Rock and 857 of Cruïlla tested positive for the coronavirus in the two weeks following the concerts.
In the control group, the number of cases detected on the same dates of the events was 197, 525 and 571, respectively.
The study expected that a maximum of 1,437 infections would be recorded after the festivals, but this was exceeded by 842, bringing the total number of cases to 2,279.
The government says a small percentage of the festivalgoers – 271 people – attended one of the events despite testing positive for the coronavirus beforehand, though it’s unclear how they were admitted.
The department also pointed out that previous pilots took place when there was a “much less transmissible variant” of Covid
The secretary of public health, Carmen Cabezas, defended the number of infections, explaining that in early July – and in a context of 8,000 cases a day – the festivals “were just one more factor among all those that occurred at that moment”.
In early July, Catalonia was grappling with the fifth coronavirus wave and contagion rates were already at high-risk levels.
The department also pointed out that previous pilots took place when there was a “much less transmissible variant” of Covid.
Currently, in Catalonia, concerts are allowed to take place with up to 1,000 people indoors and 3,000 outdoors or indoor spaces with enhanced ventilation, access control and prior seat allocation.
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