A FREE concert in Barcelona for 500 people who have tested negative for COVID-19 to test the risks of contagion has been postponed.

The concert, which was to be held at the Apolo Theatre in the Catalan capital, is part of a controlled medical study to try to understand if and how the pandemic spreads if there are no cases present, as well as testing the accuracy of the new rapid tests.

The study is a collaboration between the Fight AIDS and Infectious Diseases Foundation, Primavera Sound Festival and the Trias i Pujol Hospital.

However in the wake of the severity of the second wave of the virus, organisers have decided to postpone the event until a later date.

The study, due to begin last Saturday, involved a mass screening of 1,000 residents using a new same-day screening test.

Ready in 15 minutes, the tests are not as accurate as the current PCR tests but results are ready much sooner than current options.

Of the 1,000 negative results, 500 were to be sent home, whilst the remaining 500 were invited to take part in the free performance, involving rock and electronic music artists.

The artists involved would wear protective masks and gloves, as would the 500 concert goers, however social distancing would be scrapped to properly replicate a festival atmosphere.

After the concert, further rapid testing would be carried out to see whether the virus had emerged in an apparent ‘sterile’ environment.

“This is not a party, this is a scientific study,” said Dr. Boris Revollo, head of the study.

“Whilst same-day antigen screening for large events isn’t a substitute for face masks and other sanitation rules, it could be a powerful tool to help make large events safe enough until vaccines are widespread enough.”

According to figures from Spain’s arts council, nearly 25,000 shows have been cancelled so far since March, costing the industry an estimated €120 million.

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