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.
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.
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.