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Cannes is free of any COVID-19 cluster: General Secretary Thierry Fremaux

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Photo Credit: Festival de Cannes [cropped]

The Cannes Film Festival announced on Saturday that the in-person event is free of any COVID-19 cluster. This is in light of James Bond actor Lea Seydoux testing positive for COVID-19 in Paris.

France 24 reported that the actor, who has three films including Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, running for the Palme d’Or, the top prize at Cannes, will miss the 74th edition of the festival. Anderson’s film is scheduled to premiere on July 12.

A spokesperson for Seydoux confirmed to Variety that she tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. She will remain in quarantine until her doctors deem her safe to travel to Cannes and attend festival events. Seydoux’s other films in competition are Ildiko Enyedi’s The Story of My Wife, and Bruno Dumont’s France. She also stars in Arnaud Desplechin’s film Deception.

She will need two negative tests before she can attend the festival that skipped its 2020 event because of the pandemic and the consequent worldwide lockdown.

After the French actor’s reports went viral, rumors of COVID clusters at the festival, that kick-started in the French Riviera on July 6, started doing the rounds.

In response, the festival’s General Secretary, Thierry Fremaux said after a screening, “Yesterday we did more than 3,000 tests (on festival-goers) and we have no positive cases. We are having to say this to show that the rumours of a Cannes cluster are unfounded.”

The festival’s actions, however, are not in line with its claims.

As per Deadline, the festival rubbished the confusion around the health passes meant for the non-European Union members, and clarified that even vaccinated delegates must get tested every 48 hours. Authorities told Deadline that there has been a “misunderstanding” and that some health passes had been granted “by mistake”.

“There is absolutely no derogation for vaccinated non-EU citizens to avoid the PCR testing system in Cannes every 48 hours”, a representative said. The representative added that the confusion arose due to technical glitches.

Cannes is the first major film festival to conduct an in-person event amidst the pandemic. It is being conducted at the Palais de Festivals, and will go on till July 17.

As per the festival’s guidelines, entry to the festival will be divided into three categories — red, orange, and green. Countries falling in the green zone will have easier access to the festival and will only be asked to take a simple saliva test. However, guests will be required to test every 48 hours.

Countries in the green category include Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Singapore and several European nations deemed as the safest.

With assistance from a local hospital, a 300-square meter tent will be set up and used as a testing laboratory to screen for Covid-19. Tests can be booked online to reduce contact.

To promote a no-touch policy, digital scanning stations will be installed to scan the belongings of guests. While guests will be asked to maintain a distance of one metre, the fan zone in front of the venue will be dropped to reduce crowding.

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