Are Pilot Events a good idea?

The Health Minister Chris Fearne recently announced that Malta has finally achieved an impressive milestone of having fully vaccinated ninety percent of the eligible population which is aged twelve years and over. In view of this achievement, the Health Minister advised that as from the 6th September, stand-up events will be allowed to commence consisting of a maximum of a hundred attendees. 

Chris Fearne advised that such events may only take place in open spaces of at least two hundred square meters. All attendees must be fully vaccinated, and the wearing of masks is mandatory.

During the press conference of the 1st September, the Health Minister informed the general public that if the situation remains under control, two test events with fewer COVID-19 restrictions will take place towards the end of September. 

No details have been revealed about these events, however what we know for sure is that they will be organised by private sector companies. The number of attendees will reach three hundred and all must be fully vaccinated. The protocol in place will be that five to seven days after attending these events, all attendees will be required to take a PCR test to determine whether such gatherings are safe. These events will serve as a test for Malta. If these events are successful, they will pave the way for the entertainment industry’s recovery.

A similar approach was undertaken by the UK, where a total of nine pilot events both indoor and outdoor took place across the country including the British Awards and the FA Cup final. A UK spokesperson for the Events Research Programme said that out of the fifty-eight thousand participants no substantial COVID-19 outbreaks were reported and that only twenty-eight cases had been detected.

Scientists forming part of the Research Programme highlighted however, that although virus levels were low, evidence of direct transmission was very challenging to determine because a low uptake of PCR testing both before and after these events was registered.

The Event Research Programme was commissioned by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to test how mass gatherings could be held safely, and what measures need to be implemented to avoid the risk of transmission. 

According to the findings of the study, the Event Research Programme argued that large indoor events where crowds are more likely to gather pose a higher risk of transmission of the virus than outdoor events. Face coverings, ventilation and testing were all found to control and reduce transmission of the virus. 

Do you think that Malta’s pilot events will be a success? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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