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Russian rapper Basta denies wrongdoing after footage of packed concert venue sparks Covid-19 fears (VIDEO)

Russian rapper Basta denies wrongdoing after footage of packed concert venue sparks Covid-19 fears (VIDEO)
It might look like a typical pre-pandemic Friday night, but footage of a packed concert in St. Petersburg has raised concerns online over the risk of rising Covid-19 transmission in Russia.

Videos shared widely online appeared to show thousands of young people packed closely together, many not wearing face masks, at the Ice Palace venue in Russia’s second largest city for a performance by popular rapper Basta. 

The event provoked a volley of criticism from social media users over the weekend criticizing the event, arguing that it represented a major risk for the spread of coronavirus, and was unfair at a time when venues like restaurants and museums are subject to restrictions. 

At the time, however, the musician thanked the audience “for understanding and observing safety rules.” The city’s public order committee has since told local media that the event had been fully approved and checked by authorities, who determined that it complied with health regulations. They went on to claim that hand sanitizer had been available in the foyers, while masks had been distributed to those without them.

Russia’s coronavirus caseload hit a record high on Friday, with 27,543 positive tests for the virus recorded within the previous 24 hours. Close to 40,000 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

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