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BRIT Awards bring 4,000 music fans together with no masks and no distancing

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By Euronews
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Dua Lipa called for a pay rise for UK healthcare workers at the 2021 BRIT Awards. In this Sunday, 14 March, 2021 file photo she arrives at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards.
Dua Lipa called for a pay rise for UK healthcare workers at the 2021 BRIT Awards. In this Sunday, 14 March, 2021 file photo she arrives at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards.   -   Copyright  Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Thousands of people attended the BRIT Awards on Tuesday without social distancing, as part of the UK government’s research into safely restarting large events with crowds.

The music award ceremony welcomed 4,000 people to London’s O2 arena, with attendees required to have proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test prior to entry.

At least 2,500 tickets for the event were handed out for free to key workers who have been at the frontlines of combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Key workers honoured

They also got shoutouts from celebrities, with Dua Lipa demanding a pay rise for NHS workers as she claimed two major awards.

Dedicating a trophy to British nurse Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, who the star noted has "spent a stellar nursing career fighting racial injustice", Dua Lipa also called for the "disparity between gratitude and respect for frontline workers" to be addressed.

"It's very good to clap for them, but we need to pay them," she said, with her comments coming after the British government sparked outrage after proposing a 1% wage rise for NHS workers in England in the midst of the pandemic.

Tracking the impact of indoor events

Those who attended the BRIT Awards will be asked take a test afterwards to allow government scientists to track what effect indoor events have on spreading coronavirus.

It’s part of a wider trial of events that began with a comedy show in Liverpool on April 16 for 300 ticket holders.

Since then, there have been thousands of spectators at football matches at Wembley Stadium, including the FA Cup semi-final and Sunday’s League Cup final.

The information gathered from events like the award show will be used to see how large gatherings can be held safely in different types of venues, with varying approaches to social distancing, ventilation and testing.

The UK has recently started to ease its lockdown measures, reopening pubs and restaurants for outdoor seating, and allowing non-essential retail to start once again.

The country has the highest number of confirmed COVID deaths in Europe, but the daily case numbers have fallen dramatically since the peak at the start of the year, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the pandemic is “well under control”.