Barcelona's Sala Apolo will reopen its doors on Saturday and will allow half a thousand people to enter, half of the expected capacity due to a last minute change. The condition for access to any of the three rooms will not be that a ticket has been purchased, as usual, but that one does not have a SARS-CoV-2 confirmed diagnosis within the two weeks prior to the event, or that one is not part of what is considered a covid-19 risk group, such as those with circulatory or respiratory problems or positive close contacts. The Fundación Lucha contra el Sida y las Enfermedades Infecciosas (Foundation for the Fight against AIDS and Infectious Diseases) of the Germans Trias y Pujol Hospital in Badalona has imposed the criteria. The reason is to validate the use of antigen tests in a closed space with a massive influx of people. The results of this peculiar experiment will be useful for the cultural sector, which has been severely affected by the pandemic, and also for all those events that bring together many people.
The organisers - including those of the Primavera Sound festival - insist that it is not a cultural event "with a face mask" but a "clinical trial in the shape of a concert". Before entering the venue the participants will be given a face mask - everyone will have the same one -, hydroalcoholic gel and most importantly, an antigen test and a complementary PCR.
This will be done following a protocol that should allow eight days later to check whether the antigen test is sufficiently "effective" to detect possible infections during such an event. Obviously, those who have tested positive before the event will be notified so that they can take appropriate action.
Infectologist Oriol Mitjà, who defended these types of experiments weeks ago but who does not participate actively, considers that it is not a question of verifying the reliability of the test, which "is already quite contrasted", but of "demonstrating that a strategy with a mask, hand hygiene, and tests is sufficient to be able to open shows". The data indicates, according to Mitjà, that 90% of false negatives are not contagious. The experiment will be coordinated by Boris Revollo and Bonaventura Clotet, from the Germans Trias Hospital.