Scientists want music fans to attend a free concert to help track Covid-19

The first experiment of it's kind looking at how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at large scale events

Ravers all over the world are currently feeling the full effects of a summer without festivals, club nights, and events. It’s hard to imagine that the world would have looked like this last year, with music events banned all over the world due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Social distancing, face masks, and table service are just some of the measures that have been put in place to stop the spread of the virus, while also allowing us to enjoy music events with our friends and loved ones. With more and more events starting to pop up, could it be the start of the summer party season?

Music fans in Germany could soon be back to seeing their favourite artists after a brand new groundbreaking scientific experiment is set to take place. German scientists are joining forces with singer Tim Bendzko to launch a series of concert simulations to investigate how to prevent Covid-19 from spreading at large events.

Arena Leipzig in full swing last year

The project, “Restart-19”, has received almost €1,000,000 in funding from the federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony, which is also where the country’s first standing concerts were trialled last week with a capacity of 960.

Restart-19 will be a series of event simulations taking place at the 12,000 capacity Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Leipzig, beginning next month on 22 August. The simulations will replicate one event, but in three different ways:

  1. 4,000 participants entering through two main entrances and with no additional Covid prevention measures in place – the same conditions as pre-pandemic.

  2. 4,000 participants entering through eight entrances and every second seat will be blocked off to create larger distances between participants.

  3. The strictest version will see 2,000 attendees who will all be seated 1.5 metres apart.

The exterior of the 12,000 capacity venue

Participants must be aged between 18-50, and each will be supplied with a tracker the size of a matchstick to hang around their necks. Every 5 seconds these devices will transmit a signal that will track the persons movement, how close they get to other participants, and how long they remain that close.

The scientists will also ask concert-goers to disinfect their hands with fluorescent hand-sanitiser, after which they will scour the venue with UV lights to see where the risk of transmission is highest. Public transport to and from the venue will also be simulated and tracked as part of the research. All participants will by tested for Covid-19 before taking part, along with being provided masks and hand sanitisers to be used during the event.

Saxony-Anhalt minister of economics and science Prof. Dr. Armin Willingmann has said:

The coronavirus pandemic is paralysing the events industry. As long as infection threatens, neither large concerts and trade fairs, or sporting events can take place. That is why it is so important to find out what technical or organisational framework conditions can effectively minimise the risk of infection.

With Restart-19 the University Medical Centre Halle is pioneering work for a new start of the events industry in Central Germany and beyond.

So far, over 1,000 participants have signed up. For more information about the experiment click here!

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