BLOG: There is no better time than now to test mass events

Professor Iain Buchan, Dean of the Institute of Population Health at the University of Liverpool and Matthew Ashton, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, outline why the time is now to pilot testing of big events….

How do we get back to doing the things we love doing, safely?

That is the question we hope to answer through the Events Research Programme in Liverpool.

Covid-19 has not gone away – rates are low right now – but could rise through new variants and international travel.

However, we can’t spend the rest of our lives in lockdown, so we need to understand what the best and safest way of reopening key events is.

This vitally important scientific research programme is designed to provide a blueprint to opening up vital sectors of our economy.

Going to the cinema.

Dancing in a nightclub.

Attending a festival.

Meeting business associates face to face.

We need to make the events as safe as possible, so we are putting in place measures to minimise the risk to those attending.

Professor Iain Buchan from the University of Liverpool

Ticket holders will take Covid-19 tests before and after the event.

We will look at how well venues are set up to keep a distance between people.

We will measure the air quality and ventilation.

We will examine whether the restrictions affect the enjoyment – and therefore the viability – of putting on such events.

And we will look at whether local public health teams have all of the information they need, to ramp up safety measures, if rates rise in two or three months’ time.

All of these steps will allow us to see the impact of mixing during a pandemic.

The things we simply took for granted up until just over a year ago.

Matthew Ashton, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health

Events are an important part of the wellbeing, social fabric and economies of communities, particularly in Liverpool.

We have a long history of pioneering public health work and world class research facilities.

It means we are, with the support of our communities, uniquely placed to support the Government with this project.

Helping make events safe for us all to enjoy as society reopens during the spring and summer.

There is no better time to be doing it than now: the risk is low, we have infection rates that are below the national average and the vaccine rollout is going well.

Our learning will be key – capturing what works and what doesn’t – to get the UK economy back on its feet, and life back to a ‘new normal’ for the entire nation.

Read our Frequently Asked Questions about the Events Research Programme.