Festivals and sporting events could be cancelled over coronavirus

BIG gatherings including sporting events, concerts and festivals could be cancelled for at least two months amid the global spread of the coronavirus.

As the 19th case of coronavirus was confirmed in the UK, experts have warned of school closures and cancelled events as the disease spreads.

Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer, said on Thursday that there could be a “social cost” if the virus intensifies.

Corona in EU

“One of the things that’s really clear with this virus, much more so than flu, is that anything we do we’re going to have to do for quite a long period of time, probably more than two months,” he said.

Professor Whitty said he was not saying that would happen, but that the effectiveness of such strategies would have to be weighed up against the social impact.

Fears over the spread of the virus have already prompted the cancellation of several large events across the globe.

When asked how close the UK was to cancelling big events due to the virus, health minister Jo Churchill said on Friday: “We are taking the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and assessing the situation on a day-by-day basis.

“Any decision to cancel events or mass gatherings have to be assessed at the time, based on clinical guidance and based on risk.”

On Friday, the Swiss government announced an immediate ban on all “public and private” events in the country involving more than 1,000 people.

The ban will last until at least March 15 and is set to cause the cancellation of the Geneva International Motor Show, one of the biggest events in the car industry.

A Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy scheduled for March 7 in Dublin has been postponed as tournament chiefs are set to gather in Paris next week.

England’s trip to Rome on March 14 is now in grave doubt due to the virus’ stranglehold in northern Italy, which has become a major centre of infection with 11 towns in lockdown.

The final two stages of the cycling UAE Tour were cancelled on Thursday after two members of race staff were taken ill, although it is understood at least one test for Covid-19 has come back negative.

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and star sprinter Mark Cavendish are among riders who will also be tested as a precaution.

Five Italian Serie A football matches will be played behind closed doors this weekend rather than being postponed.

Could gigs and festivals be affected?

Cultural events have also been cancelled amid fears over the virus, after grime star Stormzy rescheduled the Asia leg of his tour which was set to begin next month.

Ahead of his show at Milan fashion week on February 24, designer Giorgio Armani warned guests not to attend and opted to live-stream the event to protect guests from attending “crowded spaces”.

Fears about the virus may now impact events later on in the year, past the two-month potential warning period.

Organisers of the MCM Comic Con London have said they are “actively and continuously monitoring” the outbreak ahead of the large convention in May.

Royal Ascot, which attracts 300,000 people across five days in mid-June, could be impacted.

There are also concerns the virus could impact the five-day Glastonbury Festival in late June, where 135,000 tickets have already been sold.

The Euro 2020 football tournament, which will include some matches such as the final at London’s Wembley stadium, will take place in June and July.

Source: Telegraph & Argus

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