Experts say covid-free pilot events are too risky, Stricter rules needed
Members of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), a group of advisors on the government’s coronavirus pandemic response, expressed its concerns that the numerous test events which are currently underway may be too risky and could possibly lead to a surge of new infections. The experts have called for some changes to be made regarding how these events are organized, ANP reported.
Earlier in April, the government announced a series of pilot events in numerous industries to determine what can be safely reopened at a later stage. That allowed many cultural sites in the country to welcome visitors again. To attend the events, all visitors must provide a negative coronavirus test result and book their place in advance.
The experts pointed out that a total of about 200,000 participants were expected at the events held throughout the country. Gatherings of such large groups as well as more trips that will then also be made imply a great risk. The research government is trying to conduct could have easily been achieved on a smaller scale, OMT found.
“If it was solely about investigation possibilities, a maximum of ten handpicked and well-prepared events would be sufficient”, one of the OMT experts said.
As a possible change, they suggested making people take a coronavirus test within 24 hours of entry, instead of the 40-hour limit for a negative test which the current rules allow. Additionally, OMT members believe that requiring visitors to get tested after the event can also help reduce the risk of a collateral growth in infections.
The OMT experts also argued that if pilot events were organized with smaller groups, it would be easier to identify the source of the infection. According to them, allowing children younger than the age of 12 to participate without being tested also leads to additional risks.
They predicted that the total number of coronavirus infections in April will be 0.6 percent to 1 percent higher due to the pilots, which could potentially endanger the government's plan to gradually reopen the country in 5 stages in the upcoming months.