Norway to trial live concerts with mass Covid testing

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) will run multiple test concerts with a capacity of 5,000 people to see if large public events can take place without the risk of Covid-19 breakouts occurring.

Norway to trial live concerts with mass Covid testing
A rock concert before Coronavirus restrictions and social distancing.Photo by from Pexels

The health authority will be trialling whether it is safe to carry out large public events with mass testing of the audience.

“We want an answer as to whether testing the entire audience before they attend the concert makes concerts as safe (from infection) as sitting and watching the event on TV at home,” Alte Fretheim, Head Researcher at the NIPH, told state broadcaster NRK.

The trial events with a capacity of 5,000 will be held in the summer, possibly as early as June.

Health authorities aim to recruit 30,000 volunteers to participate in the various test concerts.

The test events will only include participants aged 18 and 45 with no underlying risk factors.

Half of the test group will be allowed to attend concerts and shows, while the other half will live life like normal. Both groups will then be tested before and after the event has taken place.

This way, researchers will hope to determine whether events with mass testing pose a greater risk of spreading infection than everyday life.

READ MORE: Norway considers lifting measures for people who have had their first Covid-19 vaccine

It hasn’t been decided where the concerts will be held and who will play, but the NIPH has said that they will take place indoors without a face mask and that the shows will probably take place in Oslo.

“In order to compare how much infection spreads at concerts with everywhere else, it is appropriate that concerts take place under normal conditions (without face masks and social distancing),” Fretheim said.

Minister of Culture, Abid Raja, has not said whether the pilot events will be funded by the government.

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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.