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Thousands of concertgoes attend Paris arena to test COVID-19 transmission

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By Euronews with AP
A total of 5,000 people attended the concert in Paris overseen by the public hospital authority
A total of 5,000 people attended the concert in Paris overseen by the public hospital authority   -   Copyright  Francois Mori/AP
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Thousands of people have packed into a Paris concert venue today as part of a public health experiment to prepare France to host big events again.

The gig at AccorHotels Arena in the east of the capital eastern Paris featured 1980s French rock band Indochina and DJ Etienne de Crecy, playing to an audience of 5,000.

Participants were allowed to dance together in the open pit, wearing masks but without social distancing, and supervised by the Parisian public hospital authority.

Attendees got to see the show for free as long as they took three coronavirus antigen tests: two before and one after the gig.

Fans of the band were up in arms about being able to see Indochine for free after months of partial lockdown in France.

"It's been so long that we have waited for a reopening of this kind of event," said concertgoer Camille, 26, from the Paris region. "So finding a concert, in addition to it being Indochine, is really great."

A 9pm curfew is still in place in Paris so the gig took place earlier than normal, with the headliners onstage by 6pm. For extra safety, the organisers only allowed people aged 18 to 45 without underlying health conditions to take part.

France's cultural venues have been shut for most of the past 14 months in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which has been linked to more than 109,000 deaths in the country.