Crowd pilot events ‘real success’ as just four Covid cases recorded at World Snooker Championship in Sheffield

Just four cases of Covid were recorded throughout the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, it has emerged.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 3:02 pm

The competition, which took place at the Crucible from April 17-May 3, was one of the first pilot events held to test how crowds could be allowed back into venues safely as coronavirus restrictions are gradually lifted.

Spectators were required to take a test before and after visiting, and crowds were gradually increased throughout the tournament, with a full house watching Mark Selby claim his fourth title in the thrilling final.

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Spectators at the final of the 2021 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible, in Sheffield, for which a capacity crowd was allowed (Photo by Zac Goodwin - Pool/Getty Images)

The culture secretary Oliver Dowden today revealed that the four cases recorded during the snooker were among just 15 resulting from pilot events involving 58,000 people.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, he called the events, which also included a reduced-capacity FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium and a nightclub opening in Liverpool, a ‘real success’.

He told the newspaper he hopes that by June 21 stadiums will again be full and theatres can operate at maximum capacity, without having to leave seats empty.

No cases emerged from the Brit Awards, which were held on May 11 and featured an audience of 4,000 people at the O2 Arena.

Nor were there any cases reported following the FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton at Wembley on April 18, which was the first outdoor sports event to welcome back spectators, made up of residents and key workers living near the stadium.

Two cases were recorded after around 5,000 people packed into Sefton Park in Liverpool earlier this month for an outdoor gig, which included performances from Blossoms, The Lathums and local singer-songwriter Zuzu.

And nine cases were found among the 6,000 clubbers who attended The First Dance in Liverpool across two nights on April 30 and May 1, where a negative coronavirus test was a condition of entry but no face coverings or social distancing was required.

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said the figures are based on what has been seen ‘so far’ and further data from other events needs to be collected.

He said a full report would be presented to the Prime Minister on a date to be confirmed.