The UK government is holding off banning sporting fixtures amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the UK has today moved into the ‘delay’ of its action plan to tackle the virus.
There have been 596 confirmed cases in the country so far although Sir Patrick Valance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, says there are likely to be between 5,000 and 10,000 infections at the moment – and that the mortality rate is one per cent.
Stoke City and clubs in the Premier League and EFL have all been waiting on advice ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures. Stoke are away at Reading on Saturday.
But, in contrast to elsewhere around Europe, they will go ahead as planned for the time being.
Johnson said: “We are considering the possibility of banning major public events such as sporting fixtures. The scientific advice as we’ve said over the last couple of weeks is that banning such events will have little effect on the spread.
“But there is also the issue that such events can place on public services. We are discussing these issues with colleagues in all parts of the United Kingdom and will have more to say shortly in terms of timing.
“At all stages we are being guided by the science.
“We are not closing schools now. The scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time – but of course we are keeping this under review and it may change as the disease spreads.
“Schools should only close if they are specifically advised to do so.”
Uefa has called an emergency meeting for Tuesday to discuss the possibility of postponing Euro 2020 by 12 months.
Already, top flight football in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland and the United States has been suspended.
Manchester City’s Champions League last-16 second leg tie against Real Madrid, scheduled for next Tuesday, has been postponed. Peter Etebo’s Getafe’s Europa League match against Inter Milan, which should have taken place tonight, is also off.