Only festivals which prove they are Covid-safe should go ahead, warn scientists


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The warning comes after Cornwall recorded the highest rate of new cases in the country following 50,000 people gathering at Newquay’s Boardmasters surf and music festival two weeks ago

Dizzee Rascal performing at Newquay's Boardmasters festival
Dizzee Rascal performing at Newquay’s Boardmasters festival

Scientists say only festivals which can prove they are Covid safe should go ahead.

Their warning comes after Cornwall recorded the highest rate of new cases in the country following 50,000 people gathering at Newquay’s Boardmasters surf and music festival two weeks ago.

Cornwall’s rate more than doubled to 804 cases per 100,000 people, mostly as a result of 15 -24 year oids catching the disease.

And 1,000 music fans at Latitude in Suffolk last month tested positive for the virus.

Now there are fears that there could be a surge in cases this weekend as the Reading and Leeds festivals get underway.

Virologist Prof Deenan Pillay, chair of Independent SAGE, said: “There should be bans on public events that a are not deemed to be a safe environment.”



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Campers at Boardmasters which featured Foals and Gorillaz had to take a second Covid test during their stay.

And all those attending had to prove they were Covid free by showing the NHS app before entering. Everyone was encouraged to wear masks.

The scientists say that it is not the festivals themselves which spread Covid, but travelling to them in groups and crowding outside to get in.

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Cornwall’s Covid rate doubled following the festival
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Professor Stephen Reicher of St Andrews University said: “Organisers must look at pinch points which get crowded.”

And Dr Zubaida Haque added: “If infection had been low across the country none of this would have been an issue.

“But with all public protections removed there was bound to be an increase in cases.”





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