Misuse of access testing may be behind Covid outbreak at Enschede club: Mayor
Enschede mayor Onno van Veldhuizen is "horrified" that some 180 people tested positive for Covid-19 after going to nightclub Aspen Valley on Saturday, June 26, he said in a city council meeting. The cause of the outbreak is not yet known, but he thinks misuse of the Testing for Access QR code may have played a role, RTV Oost reports.
About 600 people attended the Aspen Valley party on June 26, first party since the coronavirus pandemic hit. 180 of them tested positive for Covid-19. The nightclub used Testing for Access so it could open at full capacity. This means that people who attended the party had to show they tested negative for the coronavirus, had been vaccinated, or recently recovered from the viral infection before they could enter. These certificates are issued in the form of a QR code on the CoronaCheck app.
"I understand that everyone is now calling for action, I think so too. But we can only do something if we know what the cause of the problem is," Van Veldhuizen said. "That is not yet clear. In any case, I would not have thought it possible that there would be 200 infections on about 600 to 800 visitors."
If misuse of the QR code - people gaining entrance using another person’s code - is behind the outbreak, the mayor would be shocked. "If you do that, with 25 thousand corona deaths in mind, you really have to wake up. It is very immature to abuse the corona tests, and thereby endanger others."
Van Veldhuizen is in talks with the owner and manager of the nightclub to try and figure out what happened. The club will remain closed for the time being. "That gives time to figure out what might have been the cause," the mayor said.
The manager of Aspen Valley told ANP that it is unlikely that people misused the QR codes to get in. "When showing the QR code, a moving figure on a bicycle can be seen. If someone shows a screenshot of the code, the figure does not move."
On the weekend of the Aspen Valley party, there were some clear problems with access testing in the Netherlands. An IT failure likely due to a cyberattack caused long waiting times for test results, and some test subjects were given a negative result without taking a test as compensation for delays.
This weekend too, there were some hiccups with Testing for Access. A young man in Amsterdam, for example, spent Saturday night partying in crowded bars after getting negative test results, only to find out on Sunday that a mistake had been made and he had Covid-19 after all.
An investigation by financial crimes inspectorate FIOD led to the arrests of two people last week who were accused of selling fake Covid certificates on social media.