Thousands of people, wearing masks and undergoing coronavirus tests, packed a Paris venue to attend a concert on Saturday. It was part of a public health experiment that seeks to prepare France so that it can host mass events again.
The show at the AccorHotels Arena in eastern Paris was performed by the 1980s French rock band Indochine and DJ Etienne de Crecy. But the attention of the authorities was on the attendees.
The authority that oversees public hospitals in Paris helped organize the event to determine whether it is safe to allow 5,000 people with masks to dance together in a concert forum without maintaining social distancing.
Free admission in exchange for three exams
Attendees watched the show for free, but under the condition of taking three diagnostic tests for the virus, two before and one after the concert. To further reduce the risk, organizers only allowed people between the ages of 18 and 45 to enter, with no underlying health conditions, according to the hospital authority.
France has not organized such concerts since the beginning of 2020.
The cultural forums have been practically closed for 14 months, when the authorities sought to contain the outbreaks of COVID-19 infections that saturated hospitals and caused more than 109,000 deaths.
Hospitalization rates and the number of confirmed cases in France have fallen steadily in recent weeks as vaccinations increase.
Similar tests have recently been carried out for concerts in other European countries, such as Spain, Holland and Great Britain.