COP26 climate summit leaves nearly 300 people covid positive


Nearly 300 people have tested positive for Covid after the UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow this month. A preliminary assessment concluded that 291 positive COVID-19 tests were linked to COP26-related activities.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, has however confirmed that there have been no substantial increases in cases. She said that strict measures were put in place to check the further transmission of Covid.

For example, anyone entering the main summit site, known as the Blue Zone, had to show evidence that their lateral flow test result was negative. Before entering the venue, attendees had to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test, while mask-wearing and a rigorous cleaning regime were also enforced.

According to Public Health Scotland, approximately four out of every 1,000 members of COP26 tested positive for Covid through routine lateral flow testing.

According to the First Minister, this all suggests that mitigation measures were successful. 

The findings from Public Health Scotland (PHS) measured the number of people who had attended events related to the climate summit, including workshops and protests outside the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow.

In the week of November 6, approximately 12 out of every 1,000 people in the wider Scottish population tested positive for the disease.  After the summit’s closure on Saturday, PHS said it further needs to assess the effect of the summit on case numbers. 

The PHS report indicates that 92 people tested negative but had got infected in the venue.

According to the report, one explanation for this is that LFDs are less sensitive than PCR-based tests. This may have led to early asymptomatic infections being missed.

PHS’s early analysis of surveillance data shows that COP26 has not been associated with an increase in COVID-19 infections in Scotland. However, a more thorough evaluation is needed, including observations and analyses of data from several weeks after the summit.