Coronavirus threat to Cheltenham Festival - what BHA and government say

The Cheltenham Festival is still due to take place next week despite the coronavirus outbreak.The Cheltenham Festival is still due to take place next week despite the coronavirus outbreak.
The Cheltenham Festival is still due to take place next week despite the coronavirus outbreak. | PA Wire
RACEGOERS are being urged not to attend next week’s Cheltenham Festival if they are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with coronavirus – or if they have travelled through any high-risk countries or been in contact with anyone that has.

A public health notice has been added to the track’s latest update on the British Horseracing Authority’s administration site.

It reads: “Do not travel to the Festival if: – You have any of the following symptoms – a cough, a high temperature or shortness of breath AND – You have been to or transitted through the high-risk countries, or been in contact with anyone that has, in the last 14 days.

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“To protect yourself and others please do not travel and call NHS 111 (GB) or HSE 112 (Republic of Ireland) for expert advice.

Around 250,000 spectators are expected at next week's Cheltenham Festival.Around 250,000 spectators are expected at next week's Cheltenham Festival.
Around 250,000 spectators are expected at next week's Cheltenham Festival. | PA Wire

“These measures are being taken in order for us to safeguard everyone’s health and wellbeing during the current public health situation.

“Thank you for your understanding. For more details, please visit gov.uk/coronavirus.”

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has played down the prospect of cancelling “large events”.

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He said: “The science on large events is that now there is no material clinical benefit, epidemiological benefit, to cancelling events, so long as people undertake the public health measures that I’m sure you all have heard of – wash your hands and, if you have a cough or sneeze, catch it.”