Public/Global Health

South African music festival halted after dozens of positive on-site COVID-19 tests

Two nurses move a patient who lies in bed at ward number 20 of the Tembisa Hospital in Tembisa, on March 2, 2021. 

A South African music festival was halted after dozens of COVID-19 tests conducted on-site came back positive, The Toronto Sun reported.

The Ballito Rage music festival began on Tuesday in the town of Ballito, which is located on South Africa’s eastern coast. 

Within the first eight hours of the festival, 940 people in attendance took COVID-19 tests and 32 festival-goers and four staffers tested positive, according to the Sun.

It is unclear whether they tested positive for the new omicron variant, the discovery of which South African health officials first confirmed at a media briefing the prior Thursday. Officials at the time said the variant is “very different” from past COVID-19 mutations.

The Ballito Rage festival was one of several matric parties — events aimed at high school students who have just completed their exams — taking place around the country.

“We take the safety of all our customers, staff, and suppliers extremely seriously,” the festival said in a statement, per the Sun. “It is for this reason that the event organizers have taken the decision to cancel the remainder of Ballito Rage.” 

South African officials reported 4,373 new COVID infections on Tuesday, the Sun reported. New daily infections in the country are expected to reach 10,000 by the end of the week. 

In an address to the nation on Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged the cancellation of public events.

“End-of-year parties and matric year-end raves as well as other celebrations should ideally be postponed, and every person should think twice before attending or organizing a gathering,” Ramaphosa said. 

Tags Ballito Ballito Rage music festival COVID-19 variants Cyril Ramaphosa Omicron variant South Africa

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