Thousands of young people attended a nightclub in Liverpool on Friday, as part of a government-backed lawsuit to restart mass audience events as the COVID-19 pandemic is withdrawn in England.
About 3,000 of the celebrations, aged 18 to 20, danced to thumping music in a warehouse on the docks, in close contact with each other and without wearing masks, according to a Reuters witness.
“We are excited. We are all on the verge of tears ready to go in,” a student named Josh told the BBC as he stood in line outside the venue.
The two-day event is part of a pilot scheme to see how more venues can be safely opened. It also included a football cup final in which 8,000 people attended Sunday at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Researchers will accumulate data from these events to see how approaches to social distancing and ventilation affect the spread of the virus.
Non-essential retailers in the UK reopened on 12 April along with pubs and restaurants operating outdoors, and from 17 May restrictions will be further lifted to include indoor hospitality, performances and sporting events.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to lift the lockdown completely in June.
While the UK has rolled out COVID-19 vaccines much faster than most of its European peers, it has recorded more than 127,000 COVID-19 deaths, the fifth highest number of deaths globally.
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