Stoke City and football’s coronavirus plan – when fans can expect to find out more



The UK is poised to change to the next phase in its response to coronavirus today.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to chair an emergency Cobra meeting today to discuss what the UK can do to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus, with the possibility of football matches being forced to be played behind closed doors.

The virus, which started in China, has spread rapidly in the UK over the past week or so, with 460 cases having been confirmed and eight deaths by Wednesday evening.

With the coronavirus showing little sign of slowing down, Johnson is scheduled to chair a Cobra meeting at 1.30pm on Thursday alongside fellow Government bosses, with the possible outcome of the meeting being that the UK changes its phase on the virus to ‘delay’ from ‘contain.’

Should Johnson make that decision to change the country’s stance on the virus to the ‘delay’ phase, it means that schools could be forced to close, people may have to work from home and major public gatherings would be cancelled. This could remain in place while a vaccine against the disease is not available.

If reports are accurate and the UK does enter the ‘delay’ phase, it means that mass gatherings in the country would be cancelled and football matches up and down the country would be forced to be played behind closed doors.

Should that happen, it is currently unknown how long that ruling would remain in place for.

So far, football matches and other sporting events have been heavily affected all over the world, with Serie A fixtures in Italy having been postponed, Europa League matches cancelled and forced to play behind closed doors, and next month’s Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix has been postponed.

On Monday, PM Johnson suggested that an escalation in the outbreak of the virus was to be expected, admitting that the containment strategy was “extremely unlikely to work on its own.”

He added that “extensive preparations” were under way to move to the “delay” phase to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization labeled the outbreak of coronavirus as a ‘pandemic’





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