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5,000 music fans have COVID tests before non-distanced concert in Barcelona

4 mins read
Spectators wearing protective masks attend a concert of "Love of Lesbian" at the Palau Sant Jordi, the first massive concert since the beginning of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Barcelona, Spain, March 27, 2021. REUTERS/ Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Music fans in Barcelona had rapid COVID-19 tests ahead of attending a rock concert on Saturday in a trial that, if successful, could provide a route to recovery for the ravaged live music industry in Spain and beyond.

Some 5,000 people will attend the sold-out concert for Spanish indie band Love of Lesbian, and will not be required to observe social distancing. Attendees will have to wear face masks throughout the concert in the Palau Sant Jordi arena.

People wearing protective masks attend a concert of “Love of Lesbian” at the Palau Sant Jordi, the first massive concert since the beginning of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Barcelona, Spain, March 27, 2021. REUTERS/Albert Gea

“(This concert) is about the excitement of going out, consuming culture, and dancing in a more or less safe environment,” said Sebastian, 47, a teacher getting tested ahead of the concert. “We’re going to dance and have a great time.”

The pilot concert, which has been approved by health authorities, will serve as a test for whether similar events will be able to start up again.

“It will be safer to be in the Palau Sant Jordi than walking down the street,” concert co-organiser Jordi Herreruela told Reuters.

Pre-concert testing was offered at three locations in Barcelona, and carried out by 80 nurses wearing full personal protective equipment. Some people winced as nurses swabbed their noses.

Healthcare workers prepare to collect swab samples from people, before a concert of “Love of Lesbian” that will take place this afternoon with 5,000 spectators at the Palau Sant Jordi, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Barcelona, Spain, March 27, 2021. REUTERS/ Albert Gea

By midday, of the 2,400 people already screened, three had tested positive and one had come into contact with a positive case, Dr Josep Maria Libre, one of the doctors overseeing the testing, told Reuters. They would not be able to attend the concert and would get a refund.

Attendees received the results of their antigen tests in 10 to 15 minutes via an app on their phones. The test and a mask were included in the ticket price.

“People have understood perfectly the measures we’re adopting,” said co-organiser Dani Poveda.

The “Love of Lesbian” performs at the Palau Sant Jordi during the first massive concert since the beginning of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Barcelona, Spain, March 27, 2021. REUTERS/ Albert Gea

“It is a very responsible audience… We know everyone will be looking at this concert as a possible model for how to keep advancing in the fight against the pandemic, which has caused so much damage, both to our sector and many others.”

(Reporting by Jordi Rubio and Luis Felipe Castilleja; Writing by Jessica Jones; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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