The British government recently embarked on nine large-scale events to test the exposure and infection rate of COVID-19 across England.

People in attendance at the events were exempt from COVID-19 rules, meaning no facemasks or social distancing was required. Some of the notable events in question included The Brit Awards, the FA Cup Final and a nightclub opening in Liverpool.

Out of all attendees, only 15 people tested positive for coronavirus out of the 60,000 in total. A government spokesperson commented on this, saying: “The pilots have been designed in a scientifically controlled way to reduce the risk of transmission for attendees. We are working closely with NHS Test and Trace to ensure everyone can be traced following a positive test.” 

Out of the nine events put forth, three of them were football matches. In particular, the FA Cup Final was held at Wembley Stadium, with over 20,000 people gathered in attendance. The Brit Awards, on the other hand—which had performances from the likes of Headie One, The Weeknd and Dua Lipa—saw a reduced number of people gathered, with 4,000 people brought together at the O2 Arena. 

In late April, news broke that 6,000 people were invited for a pilot test night out in Liverpool. This event marked the first restriction-free event since the first national lockdown last March. The event was implemented in preparation for the slated end of social restrictions on June 21. If the schedule goes ahead as planned, June 21 will see the nationwide re-opening of nightclubs and close quarters events like festivals throughout the UK.

Currently, COVID-19 infections have dipped significantly since vaccines have been implemented nationwide. According to official reports, there are now around 22 positive COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people.

Despite the large gatherings, news of the minimal infections is undoubtfully a good sign, especially with the Indian strain of coronavirus making its way through England and Wales. There are currently 383 cases of the B.1.617.2 Indian coronavirus variant in the UK. This variant is thought to be more transmissible and deadly among those vulnerable and non-vaccinated.

In a comment regarding the situation, Downing Street said it was still too early to determine whether the Indian coronavirus strain would delay the lifting of all social restrictions.