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Eurovision song contest prepares for slimmed-down COVID version

CM 17/05/2021 1

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The Dutch port city of Rotterdam is preparing for a slimmed down version of the Eurovision song contest this weekend with a limited live audience, amid falling but still significant COVID-19 infection rates in the Netherlands.

“When we made the decision to try and unite everyone here in Rotterdam we knew the pandemic unfortunately would still be around. We’re doing everything we can to minimize the impact of it,” Martin Osterdahl, the contest’s executive supervisor, told Reuters on Monday.
All 39 participating countries and their delegations are tested before they can enter the venue. Some 3,000 fans can attend through the Dutch trial scheme for events during the pandemic. They will also have to show a negative coronavirus test.
This past weekend the organizers announced there had been infections found in members of the delegations from Poland and Iceland. Both delegations are in quarantine and waiting for more tests.
“If an artist tests positive we will go to the back-up tape,” Osterdahl said, stressing that no one gets in the Eurovision venue without a negative test.
The Netherlands is hosting the 65th edition of the event, which draws a television audience of about 200 million, this weekend after Dutch singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence won the 2019 contest with the song “Arcade”. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have dropped by more than a quarter this month, after climbing to their highest levels of the year in April. Israel will be represented by Eden Alene, who is the first Israeli of Ethiopian descent to represent Israel at Eurovision. She had originally been set to compete in 2020, but after it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic she was given the opportunity to compete in 2021 instead.Alene will sing the song “Set Me Free,” written by Noam Zaltin, Ido Netzer, Amit Mordechai and Ron Carmi.The Eurovision 2021 song contest will consist of two semi-finals on the 18th and 20th of May, and the final will be held on May 22nd.

Hannah Brown and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

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