The Cheltenham Festival went ahead this week as planned despite concerns over the coronavirus. The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted many sporting events around the world. Ahead of the Festival this week, clerk of the course Simon Claisse, said they were “following all of the Government advice” and “trying our best to maintain business as usual while trying to help protect the health of the public”.
He told The Sun: “We are following their recommendations and making sure there are extra hand-wash stations around the course and plenty of information on display.
“We also advise anyone not to come on site if they have any of the virus symptoms, have travelled from a high-risk country or been in contact with someone who has.”
However, over the past week, several sporting events across the globe have either been cancelled, postponed or have taken place without spectators.
Fans have since taken to social media to query whether the final day of the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead.
One wrote on Twitter: “Saw this pic of Cheltenham and would like to start asking Paddy Power and other bookies to start contributing to our healthcare system.
“60k people in close proximity to each other during a #coronavirus pandemic. What could possibly go wrong?!?”
Another commented: “I’m actually angry about Cheltenham. Such irresponsible selfishness for the sake of a day at the races.”
A third added: “Cancel the Cheltenham Festival NOW.
It echoes yesterday’s message from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who ruled out cancelling large scale sporting events for the time being.
The PM said: “We are considering the question of banning major public events such as sporting fixtures and the scientific advices as we’ve said of the last couple of weeks is that banning such events will have little effect on the spread but there is also the issue of the burden such events can place on public services.
“So we’re discussing these issues with colleagues in all parts of the UK and we’ll have more to say shortly about the timing of further action.”
Cheltenham’s showpiece race, the Gold Cup, is due to start at 3.30pm this afternoon.