Tuesday 22 June 2021

Experts raise concerns about test events, some will have 10,000 tickets

An earlier Fieldlab experiment. Photo: Lauren Comiteau

Members of the government’s Outbreak Management Team (OMT), who advise on coronavirus strategy, are concerned about the large number of test events which have been scheduled for the coming weeks.

At least two Fieldlab events on the calendar up to May 1 involve audiences of 10,000 and hundreds of small events have also been planned.

In particular, the experts say that the negative fast-test everyone should show to attend an event must be no older than 24 hours, not 40 as the current regulations state. And a second test, after the event would reduce the risk of ‘potential negative effects’ the experts say.

The OMT says it expects the number of coronavirus infections will increase because of the trials, given that the fast tests are not 100% reliable.

In total, 200,000 people are expected to attend a string of events based around culture, leisure and sport. But large groups and all the travelling also increase the risk of infections, as does the decision not to test the under 12s, the experts say.

If the trials are purely about research, then ‘a maximum of 10 well selected and prepared events would be enough,’ the OMT said.

Festivals

Among the events on the schedule in the coming weeks are the 3FM radio awards at the TivoliVredenburg theatre in Utrecht, which will have an audience 1,500 strong. On April 24, the Efteling amusement park will open its doors to 8,000 people.

Radio station 538 is organising its traditional Oranjedag show for 10,000 people on April 24 and the organisers of the Zwarte Cross music festival are hosting an test event on May 1, which will also involve 10,000 participants.

The events can be seen as a signal that the coronavirus rules can be relaxed, but that is not the case, the OMT said. ‘The peak in the number of infections has yet to come and proper communication is essential,’ the OMT said.

Plans for May include opening an Amsterdam night club for 1,000 people and nine times 3,500 people attending the heats, rehearsals and final of the Eurovision Song Festival in Rotterdam.

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