Crowd pilot events ‘a real success’ as just 15 cases of Covid-19 reported

Pilot events involving 58,000 people have resulted in just 15 positive cases of Covid-19, according to the Culture Secretary.

Oliver Dowden hailed the UK’s Covid test events which included a reduced-capacity FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium and a nightclub opening in Liverpool, as a “real success”.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Mr Dowden said he hopes that by June 21 stadiums will be full and the lights will be back on in the West End.

He told the newspaper he is “very hopeful” that theatres will be allowed to sell all seats instead of keeping some empty.

The Brit Awards 2021 – Show – London
People in the crowd during the Brit Awards 2021 at the O2 Arena (Ian West/PA)

The Brit Awards on May 11 took place as part of the Government’s live events pilot scheme and was the first large-scale indoor music event of the year.

The ceremony, which included performances by Dua Lipa and Sir Elton John, featured an audience of 4,000 people at the O2 Arena.

No cases emerged from the event where audience members were not socially distanced or required to wear face coverings once seated.

Crowds at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield were increased as the tournament progressed, culminating in a full house for the final on May 2 and 3.

Just four cases of Covid occurred across the 17 days of the championships.

Two cases were recorded after around 5,000 people packed into Sefton Park in Liverpool earlier this month for an outdoor gig, which included performances from Blossoms, The Lathums and local singer-songwriter Zuzu.

Coronavirus – Sun May 2, 2021
Crowds at a music festival in Sefton Park in Liverpool (Danny Lawson/PA)

The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton at Wembley on April 18 was the first outdoor sports event to welcome back spectators, though it was limited to residents and key workers living near the stadium.

There have been no cases reported from Wembley.

Club night Circus hosted The First Dance in Liverpool, where revellers, who all had to produce negative coronavirus tests, did not have to wear face coverings or socially distance.

Nine cases were found among 6,000 clubbers across two nights.

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said the figures are based on what has been seen “so far” and further data needs to be collected on other events.

He said a full report will be presented to the Prime Minister on a date to be confirmed.