François Mori / The Associated Press
Thousands of people, masked and tested for the coronavirus, crammed into a Parisian arena for a concert on Saturday as part of a public health experiment to prepare France to once again host major events.
The show at the AccorHotels Arena in eastern Paris features 1980s French rock band Indochine and DJ Etienne de Crecy. But the attention was mostly on the spectators.
The Paris public hospital authority helped organize the event to determine whether it is safe to allow 5,000 masked people to dance together in the open from an indoor concert arena without social distancing.
Attendees see the show for free but had to pass three virus tests, two before and one after the concert. To further reduce risk, organizers only allowed people between the ages of 18 and 45 with no underlying health issues to participate, according to the hospital authority.
France has not allowed such music concerts since early 2020. Cultural venues have been closed for most of the past 14 months as authorities tried to contain the persistent outbreaks of viral infections that filled hospitals and were linked to more than 109,000 deaths.
COVID-19 hospitalization rates and confirmed cases in France have steadily declined in recent weeks as vaccinations increase.
Similar test concerts have recently been organized in other European countries, notably in Spain, the Netherlands and Great Britain.