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Almost 5,000 positive Covid-19 cases after Boardmasters festival

Surf and music festival Boardmasters is being investigated after 4,700 people tested positive for Covid-19 since the event in Newquay in the UK. 

The festival took place from 11-15 August with headline performances from Foals, Gorillaz and Jorja Smith. 

It has been reported that around 800 of people who tested positive live Cornwall, while thousands more were spread around the UK. Health officials are now investigating as it has emerged that around three quarters of those who tested positive are between the ages of 16 and 21. 

A Boardmasters spokesperson said: “No event is able to eliminate risk entirely and the latest Test & Trace data includes reported infections among the 76,000 people who visited the festival or related activities at Fistral Beach, in Newquay and the wider area during the week of Boardmasters. 

“We will continue to work with our public health partners to understand the extent to which attendance at the festival has contributed to the figures.” 

The festival had requirements for entry in place for those over 11, including proof if attendees had been double vaccinated, with the second dose having been received at least 14 days before the event. 

Other requirements included a negative lateral flow test taken within 24 hours of arriving at festival gates, or natural immunity after a positive PCR test taken at least 10 days earlier. Camping ticket holders also had to take a second NHS lateral flow test, which they had to bring themselves to the festival, on the Friday during the event and register this on the NHS app. 

It has been reported that Dr Andy Virr, the Cornwall councillor for Fowey, Par, Tywardreath and Golant, said the council had considered cancelling the event. He added that while the infections were an obvious issue, at present, cases were not “translating into a serious life-threatening illness”.

“At the moment there are no regrets,” he added. 

The figures come just a few days after the UK Government said that large events could be conducted safely as the nation navigates its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data taken by the National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace system from 37 trial events that formed the Events Research Programme (ERP), showed that over a four-month period, case numbers were mostly in line with or below community infection rates.

Image: Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

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