A rock concert held in Barcelona and attended by 5,000 people showed “no sign” of causing coronavirus contagion, officials said.
The event at Palau Sant Jordi in the Catalan capital saw attendees take rapid COVID-19 tests before being allowed in to see the rock band Love of Lesbian on March 27.
They also wore FFP2 masks, there was improved ventilation, and management procedures for the toilet and bar areas, but no social distancing.
It was one of the first spectator events to be held in Europe this year amid the pandemic.
Presenting the results of a study into whether indoor spectator events can be held safely, Josep Maria Llibre, a doctor at the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital in Badalona, told a news conference “in summary, a live music concert in a covered enclosure with the correct measures and ventilation is a safe activity”.
"There is no sign that suggests that transmission took place during the event, which was the objective of this study," he continued.
Two weeks after the concert, there had been just six positive cases confirmed among the spectators, with organisers certain that four of the six cases were not transmitted during the concert. The other two are unconfirmed.
Llibre said the study shows “we can guarantee a safe space” for spectator events with optimised ventilation, testing, and masks.
Another test concert took place in early March in the Netherlands with 1,300 people.
According to Llibre, the event showed that “5,000 people can be screened in one morning,” and he congratulated the audience on its behaviour.
The band at the centre of the event, Love of Lesbian, tweeted to thank everyone involved.
"The eyes of the world were on us, many people were asking us how we did it," said Angels Ponsa, who is in charge of culture in the Catalan regional government.
“The leadership of the festivals, the scientific rigour and the cooperation between the cultural, health and institutional fields are the three essential factors for the success of the clinical trial of the concert,” she added.
In December, the same team of researchers had already organised a pilot project in a Barcelona venue with 500 spectators who had been tested.
A few days later, none had contracted the virus.