5,000 visitors attend the concert in Barcelona after COVID-19 screenings
If you overlooked the white face masks that covered the crowded crowd of music lovers, it was almost like beforeTimes in Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi concert hall Saturday night. Five thousand rock fans enjoyed a real concert that same day after a coronavirus screening to test its effectiveness in preventing virus outbreaks at major cultural events.
The only rule within the show was the strict use of the concert promoter’s high quality face masks.
“We were able to evade reality for a while,” said 40-year-old Jose Parejo. “We were in our little concert bubble. And we could even remember a time when things like that were normal. Things that are unfortunately not so normal these days.”
The show by the Spanish rock group Love of Lesbian had special permission from the Spanish health authorities. While the rest of the country limited itself to indoor gatherings of no more than four people, concert-goers were free to mingle.
The musicians were also carried away at the moment.
“It’s been a year and a half since we last entered a scenario as a band,” vocalist Santi Balmes told the crowd. “It’s like that … some of the musicians are crying over here.”
Ticket buyers chose between three places in Barcelona where they could do a quick antigen test on Saturday morning. Those with negative results were given a code on their cell phones that confirmed their tickets for the 7pm. Show.
People with heart disease, cancer, or people who have had contact with someone infected with COVID-19 in the past few weeks were asked not to register.
Organizers said it would be the first commercial event with an audience large in Europe during the pandemic.
The show was sold out. The tickets, ranging from 23 to 28 euros, included the cost of the test and face mask, which were mandatory except when eating or drinking in certain areas.
The concert was supported by local authorities and experts from The Fight AIDS and Infectious Diseases Foundation in Barcelona, which also organized a case study on a smaller concert with 500 people in December. They said the results of this preliminary case study showed that pre-screening with antigen tests and the use of face masks managed to prevent infection within the concert, even though there were no rules for social distancing.
“This is another small step to be able to hold concerts and cultural events,” said Dr. Boris Revollo, the virologist involved in drafting the health protocols.
This time not only was it ten times bigger than the concert in December, but there was also no control group outside the concert hall.
Instead, the concert-goers agreed that the health authorities can inform the Revollo team if they contract the corona virus in the weeks after the concert. With this information, the Revollo team will conduct an analysis of the infection rates among the 5,000 concert-goers compared to the general population to determine if there are any discrepancies that could indicate contagion at the concert.
It was a publication for 37-year-old Gerard Munne.
“A feeling of freedom to be able to feel the warmth of the people,” he said. “(It was) yesterday’s normality.”
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