Barcelona: 5,000 fans cram into concert after passing same-day Covid tests for 'biggest event in Europe since pandemic'

THOUSANDS of music fans tonight crammed into a Barcelona rock concert after passing a same-day Covid test.

The 5,000-strong gig was backed by authorities and is believed to be the biggest event in Europe since the start of the pandemic.

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The sell-out event was held in Barcelona's Palau Sant Jordi and was given special permission by Spain's health authorities who wanted to test the prevention of Covid outbreaks at mass events.

Concertgoers came to watch the band Love of Lesbian and were able to mix freely in the arena – although face masks were mandatory.

It comes as restrictions remain in place across Spain, with gatherings limited to no more than four people in closed spaces.

And organisers say the concert is the first commercial event of this size held in Europe during the pandemic.

Ticket-buyers could choose from three venues in Barcelona to undergo a speedy test on Saturday morning.

And those with negative results were given a code on their phone validating their ticket for the show, which started at 7pm.

People with heart disease, cancer, or those who have been in contact with someone infected with Covid in recent weeks were asked not to sign up.

And the ticket prices for the show, ranging from €23-€28 (£19.70-£24), included the cost of the test and the high-quality face mask that is obligatory except when eating or drinking at designated areas.

The gig was backed by local authorities and experts from Barcelona’s Fight Aids and Infectious Diseases Foundation, which also organised a case study around a smaller concert of 500 people in December.

They said the results of that preliminary study showed that pre-screening with antigen tests and face masks prevented infection despite there being no social distancing rules.

Dr Boris Revollo, the virologist involved in the design of the health protocols, said: “This is another small step toward being able to hold concerts and cultural events."

It comes after thousands of maskless New Zealanders crammed together like sardines to watch Six60 perform at the start of the year – after the country's Covid alert level dropped to 1 and cases were under control.

But the scenes are alien to Brits who still dream of mixing indoors with their loved ones.

Under Boris Johnson's roadmap to freedom, up to 10,000 fans will be allowed into stadiums for big sports events and concerts from May 17.

And the key date everyone is waiting for is June 21, when all other restrictions will be lifted.

Lockdown will officially end on this date and if all goes to plan, restrictions on social contact could be lifted – meaning that mass events are allowed to take place.

From then on, nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, along with theatre performances and long-awaited festivals.

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