'No substantial outbreaks' of Covid-19 following mass test event

25 June 2021, 15:08 | Updated: 25 June 2021, 16:08

No substantial outbreaks of Covid-19 were reported in the wake of test mass events
No substantial outbreaks of Covid-19 were reported in the wake of test mass events. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

“No substantial outbreaks” of Covid-19 were identified following any of the first phase of mass test events, the Government’s delayed Events Research Programme report has found.

Of the more than 58,000 people who attended government test events, only 28 cases were identified after.

It comes after theatre legend Andrew Lloyd Webber told LBC that the theatre industry has been made a "sacrificial lamb".

He had launched legal action for the results to be made public, after the delay to Freedom Day prevented theatres around the country from being able to be fully opened.

A delayed report on data included the first nine pilots of the ERP's first phase in April and May, which featured the FA Cup final, the Brit Awards and the World Snooker Championship.

Of the 28 confirmed cases, 11 were identified as "potentially infectious at an event" while a further 17 were "potentially infected at or around the time of an event", the report published on Friday said.

Its first phase saw 10 Covid-19 cases recorded from those at the Circus nightclub in Liverpool, which hosted nearly 7,000 people over two nights.

Some six cases were recorded from the more than 10,000 attendees at the World Snooker Championship that took place over 17 days.

No cases were found among the 3,500 people at the Brit Awards at London's O2 Arena, while a combined eight cases were recorded out of the nearly 30,000 fans attending the FA Cup semi-final and final and the Carabao Cup final.

An outdoor festival pilot at Liverpool's
Sefton Park, where more than 6,000 attended, saw two cases, and the Reunion 5k run at Kempton Park in Surrey also recorded two cases from 2,000 attendees.

While the report said "no substantial outbreaks were identified by public health teams and their surveillance systems around any of the events" it said "direct evidence of the risk of coronavirus transmission at specific types of events could not be drawn from Phase I of the pilots".

This was due to "the low prevalence of Covid-19 at the time of the pilot events; low levels of pre- and post-event PCR return and the limited scale, scope and design of pilots"

Event organisers had expected the findings to be made available last week, but publication was delayed without explanation, causing chaos for the planning of shows and large events for the remainder of summer.

Lord Lloyd Webber and other leading figures in live music launched the action to force the Government to hand over the results from its coronavirus pilot events scheme.

The Events Research Programme ran test events at sporting, music and arts venues to assess the safety of large gatherings during the pandemic.

In a statement the group, which also includes musician Peter Gabriel, theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh and music industry trade body Live, accused the Government of "making it impossible to plan for any live entertainment business" by not sharing their findings.

Live shows as part of the scheme have included the Brit Awards, music event Download Festival and a snooker tournament at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.

"These events have been a huge success, according to the Government itself in various press reports, showing that with proper precautions in place, live events at full capacity can go ahead safely," the statement said.

More to follow...