Cannes Film Festival Averaging 3 Positive Covid Cases Per Day From Thousands Of Tests

A festival worker holds a coronavirus specimen test at the 74th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, July 6, 2021. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) AP

EXCLUSIVE: The Croisette may be ablaze with chatter about how likely a coronavirus outbreak is as we go deeper into the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, but at present the number of cases being recorded is reassuringly low.

Deadline has confirmed with the festival that it is averaging just three positive cases per day since it got underway, from the thousands of attendees who are being checked daily via the dedicated BioGroup testing center. At least one of those who tested positive was a security guard.

Non-vaccinated delegates have to be able to display a negative test result less than 48 hours old to access certain areas of the festival including the Palais. The testing requirement also applies to vaccinated people arriving from non-EU countries including the U.S. and the UK. Some drinks parties have been requiring people to show tests or fully-vaccinated status.

Anyone who tests positive here is mandated by the French government to self-isolate for 10 days, which would prove a major headache for visitors who would need to hastily arrange accommodation and would be stuck indoors in searing heat. It is thought the policy is not strictly enforced but at the very least delegates would not be able to access key parts of the festival, and would carry the ethical burden of spreading the virus. People who test positive are also expected to inform others they have been in contact with, which after an average Cannes night could run into the hundreds. It could also cause issues for travel, with many countries requiring a negative test less than three days old before boarding a flight.

We’ve been constantly gauging the mood of attendees here this week in relation to the virus, and the overall picture is decidedly mixed. Many have been impressed by the festival’s efficiency regarding its Covid protocols, and are delighted to be back on the circuit again, drinking in bars and seeing old friends. Others however are getting increasingly wary of the potential for a virus outbreak, particularly as many people seem to be growing lax with their approach to the various safety measures in place.

Images and videos have spread from packed screenings inside the major venues displaying many maskless attendees, and artistic director Thierry Fremaux has felt the need to re-state on several occasions that people inside cinemas must wear their masks at all time during the films. Festival president Pierre Lescure, however, was papped greeting several actresses with kisses on the red carpet one evening, which is strictly prohibited, while Adam Driver took his mask off to spark a cigarette during the standing ovation after the Annette premiere.

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