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Results from the government’s pilot conferences and events – no social distancing / no transmission.

4 Jun 20212m read

In our April newsletter we talked about the pilot events that were about to take place in Liverpool. The results from these events have now been published and they are most encouraging.


Liverpool Public Health officials and scientists have found the city’s pilot events did not cause any detectable spread of Covid-19 across the region.

The city hosted four events as part of the national Events Research Programme (ERP), with a total of 13,258 people attending The Good Business Festival, two nightclub events hosted by Circus and the Sefton Park Pilot music festival.

All attendees were required to take a lateral flow test ahead of the event – a negative test would allow them access. Five people with the Covid-19 virus were identified through this process and were not allowed to attend.

Ticketholders were encouraged to take a PCR test on the day of the event, and a second one five days later.

The process identified four people as possibly having the virus at an event; and a further seven people were identified with the virus four to seven days after they attended an event. Of those who tested positive, two attended the music festival, nine attended the nightclub and none attended the business festival. Many of the cases were friends who met outside of events and may not have been infected at an event itself.

Liverpool Public Health said everyone who tested positive was successfully followed up by the contact tracing team. Scientists found the testing, data and contact tracing systems worked well, with key information being available to public health teams before the events which allowed contacts of potential cases to be traced quickly.

Martin Fullard, Editor of Conference News attended the event and said “In Liverpool, the rhetoric of the scientists observing us was positive: “don’t act artificially,” they said. We were encouraged to shake hands and, essentially, act normally. If anyone wasn’t comfortable with that, that was fine too. It was important for them see how we behave when filing to and from the auditorium, how we engaged while networking in the breakout spaces, and how we behaved when the trays of lagers came out. It was all based on a single question: how do we get events running normally again?”

The research team also found that between 25% and 43% of people returned a PCR test after the event, with the Sefton Park Pilot festival seeing three times the number of the other Liverpool pilots due to the incentive of winning tickets to future gigs.

Every Covid-19 test result for the 2.6m population of Cheshire and Merseyside was examined before and after the events, with 96% of tickets linked to test results. The results showed there was no evidence of any substantial spread of the virus around the pilot events.

Wearing face coverings or maintaining social distancing were not required at any of Liverpool’s pilot events.

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