Cannes Film Festival’s general secretary Francois Desrousseaux squashed rumors swirling around the festival about skyrocketing coronavirus cases and told Variety Friday that four days into the festival, there is no Covid-19 cluster at Cannes.
“Out of several thousand people getting testing here on a daily basis, there are an average of three cases per day,” said Desrousseaux, who hammered out protocols with the festival’s organizers, producers and Cannes regional authorities. Salivary RT-PCR tests have been carried on at a 300 square-meter lab tent adjacent to the Palais des Festivals.
All unvaccinated guests as well as attendees traveling from the U.S. and countries listed as orange such as the U.K. have had to take tests every two days in order to enter the perimeter of the Palais des Festivals where the Marché des Films and most screenings are taking place.
Desrousseaux said “Since the start of the festival on Tuesday, there were a maximum of six cases found on a single day.” “If we look at the proportion of cases compared with the number of people tested, we’re well below the national average,” he pointed out.
Once people are tested positive to Covid-19, they are required to self-isolate immediately and are not allowed inside the perimeter of the the Palais des Festivals where security staff scan QR codes upon all entrances.
In view of those cases, Cannes’ organizers have now demanded that every festival staffer undergo a test every two days, rather than every five days which is the normal requirement for event employees, said Desrousseaux.
Cannes’ hands-on and resourceful mayor, David Lisnard, has also deployed Covid-sniffing dogs around the Palais, near the red carpet entrance.
The festival’s chief Thierry Fremaux and president Pierre Lescure reminded attendees that wearing a mask is mandatory in all indoor venues, following headlines saying that too many people had removed their masks during screenings and didn’t observe enough social distancing, including during the opening night ceremony on Tuesday.
“Understandably, people were particularly enthusiastic to reunite after such a long time during the first 24 hours, but we are making sure that sanitary rules are now strictly observed by everyone; and have more staff on the ground in charge of enforcing the protocol,” said Desrousseaux. “We have to be fully conscious that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.”