Cape Town is party central as new rapid testing app allows negative patrons to rock and roll

23 December 2020 - 14:51 By zimasa matiwane
Partying during Covid-19? But you have to test first.
Partying during Covid-19? But you have to test first.
Image: Supplied

The deadly Covid-19 outbreak has not only taken lives but has deprived the world of enjoying shared moments at festivals, concerts and sports events. However, through technology, an application called Health Passport Europe is looking to change that. 

Health Passport Europe has partnered with Big Concerts and The Entertainment Group to safely reopen the events industry in SA, using latest developments in rapid Covid-19 testing and the secure Health Passport Europe mobile technology at a pilot event in Cape Town.

The event, called Recharge 2020, took place on December 21 at the Grand Café & Beach venue in Cape Town, with multiple live acts and DJs.

The event, which organisers say went off safely, is a step towards reopening live events in 2021.

One of the attendees, Kate Friedman, an events organiser, lauded the invention as “brilliant for the hard-hit industry” with a glimpse of what the future of events could look like. 

“What will happen is the capacity of events is going to be much less, events will be more expensive (Covid-19 test included in tickets) and exclusive,” said Friedman. 

How the app works is that after downloading, install and set-up:

  • you will be tested for Covid-19 before entering the event using the latest rapid testing technology;
  • your test results will be generated within 20 minutes and will be securely delivered to your Health Passport Europe app;
  • your event ticket and your Health Passport Europe app will all be scanned upon entry; and
  • if you test positive for Covid-19, you will be unable to enter the live event, which takes place within the limits of the curfew.

Guests are still required to follow the national Covid-19 guidelines, including social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitising of hands.

All staff, performers and guests are tested.

Friedman said in the face of Covid-19, the digital platform founded by Irish software expert Robert Quirke would breathe life to an industry that has suffered due to the pandemic.

Don’t fret, we are all NEGATIVE!! So #Recharge2020 by #healthpassporteurope endorsed by the SA government was...

Posted by Katie Friedman on Monday, December 21, 2020

Quirke, in a statement, said: “Our team is excited and humbled to have worked on this project for Cape Town and to have contributed to the safe reopening of international entertainment and tourism.

“The secure technology is engineered to work with all official Covid-19 tests and vaccinations. Many thousands of people are already using the mobile system and it is helping industries to return.

“You can see how the future is going to shape up. We are looking at less people at events, more exclusivity. Live events will become more prestigious and it will cost more, but that is the way we have to do it.”

“Humans are inherently sociable. If I can socialise with a whole lot of people who are negative, I am much happier than socialising with people whom I do not know their Covid-19 status [sic]. It is exciting,” Friedman said.

She said she felt safe because the technology uses the latest rapid antigen tests that are already validated for use in SA.

“There is no limit on the amount of tests that can be processed. On Monday they had 22 testing stations and each took three minutes for a person to go in and out, so event organisers can scale it up or down depending on the number of people at their events.

“As a consumer I get a free Covid-19 test, so in the future we will have tests at every event. And this app keeps a record of all the events that you have attended and that information will only be accessed by you,” she added. 

Friedman said South African event organisers were embracing technology while adjusting to the safety precautions. 

“Another friend is putting on a series of events here in Cape Town. Normally she would have 1,000 people for one event but now she is doing the same event over four different days and having 80 at each,” she added. 

“We will see events happening in a series and the most prestigious ones being the first. Prices will go up as a result of less capacity and safety considerations. Live events, from sports to entertainment, will be a bit more expensive but it is worth it.”

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