Eurovision song contest prepares for slimmed down COVID-19 version

Eurovision song contest prepares for slimmed down COVID-19 version

All 39 participating countries and their delegations are tested before they can enter the venue in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam. The 3,000 audience members will also have to show a negative coronavirus test.

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In this photo taken on May 12, 2021, Cyprus' performer Elena Tsagrinou rehearses her song El Diablo at the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The Dutch port city of Rotterdam is preparing for a slimmed down version of the Eurovision song contest this weekend with a limited live audience, amid falling but still significant COVID-19 infection rates in the Netherlands.

“When we made the decision to try and unite everyone here in Rotterdam we knew the pandemic unfortunately would still be around. We’re doing everything we can to minimise the impact of it," Martin Osterdahl, the contest’s executive supervisor, told Reuters on Monday (May 17).

All 39 participating countries and their delegations are tested before they can enter the venue. Around 3,000 fans can attend through the Dutch trial scheme for events during the pandemic. They will also have to show a negative coronavirus test.

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In this photo taken on May 12, 2021, the waiting booths of performing artists are seen in the foreground during rehearsals at the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

This past weekend the organisers announced there had been infections found in members of the delegations from Poland and Iceland. Both delegations are in quarantine and waiting for more tests.

"If an artist tests positive we will go to the back-up tape," Osterdahl said, stressing that no one gets in the Eurovision venue without a negative test.

The Netherlands is hosting the 65th edition of the event, which draws a television audience of about 200 million, this weekend after Dutch singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence won the 2019 contest with the song Arcade. The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have dropped by more than a quarter this month, after climbing to their highest levels of the year in April. The Dutch health minister on Monday announced the country will go ahead with easing COVID-19 curbs, which will result in amusement parks, zoos, gyms and outdoor swimming pools reopening on Wednesday.

(Source: Reuters)

Source: Reuters/sr

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