Five thousand fans attended a rock concert in Barcelona on Saturday after passing a same-day COVID-19 screening, to test a plan to prevent outbreaks of the coronavirus at large cultural events. The show by Spanish rock group Love of Lesbian had the special permission of health authorities, the AP reports. While the rest of the country was limited to gatherings of no more than four people in closed spaces, the concertgoers were able to mix freely. People with heart disease, cancer, or those who have been in contact with someone infected by COVID-19 in recent weeks were asked not to sign up. Ticket buyers chose among three venues in Barcelona where they could take a quick antigen test on Saturday morning. Those with negative results got a code on their cellphones validating their tickets for the 7pm show at the city's Palau Sant Jordi.
Organizers said it was the biggest audience for a commercial event in Europe during the pandemic. The show was sold out. Tickets, ranging from $27 to $33, included the cost of the test and the high-quality face mask that was obligatory except when eating or drinking in designated areas. The concert was backed by local authorities and organizations that organized a case study around a concert for 500 people in December. They said that case study showed that pre-screening with antigen tests and the use of face masks prevented infections at the concert despite there being no social distancing rules. "This is another small step toward being able to hold concerts and cultural events" during the pandemic, said Dr. Boris Revollo, the virologist involved in the design of the health protocols. Concertgoers agreed public health authorities can inform Revollo’s team if they come down with the coronavirus in the next few weeks. "I am happy," one said. (New York is using an app to help bring back large events.)