Government spokesman: “Cheltenham Festival was operating within clear Public Health England guidance at the time”
By PA Media
Last Updated: 03/04/20 11:09pm
The organisers of the Cheltenham Festival have defended their decision to go ahead with the meeting final month, after fears had been raised the mass gathering helped unfold coronavirus extra extensively across the nation.
The four-day occasion noticed greater than 250,00zero racegoers attend, regardless of the pandemic seeing the cancellation of different massive sporting occasions within the days after.
Quite a few individuals reported on social media that they attended the pageant, solely to go on and develop signs of COVID-19.
However, pageant organisers defended the decision to go ahead and mentioned it complied with the federal government steerage on the time.
At the time of the pageant, which ran from March 10 to March 13, the federal government had not put any social distancing measures in place.
The day earlier than the pageant began, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport mentioned there was “no rationale” to postpone occasions.
A authorities spokesman mentioned on Friday: “It is our absolute precedence to shield individuals’s well being and our recommendation on coronavirus is the results of direct, steady session with medical consultants.
“Cheltenham Festival was working inside clear Public Health England steerage on the time.”
However, by that time, six individuals within the UK had died of the virus, whereas 373 had examined constructive.
The following Monday, the Prime Minister urged all individuals within the UK to keep away from pubs, golf equipment and theatres and cease all non-essential journey and earn a living from home.
On March 13, the Football Association, Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship collectively agreed to postpone the skilled sport in England till April three on the earliest, whereas Formula 1 suspended the beginning of the season.
A spokesperson for Cheltenham Racecourse mentioned: “The Festival concluded three weeks in the past and went ahead underneath the federal government’s ongoing steerage all through, like different in style sports activities occasions at Twickenham, Murrayfield, 10 Premier League matches and the UEFA Champions League at Anfield that very same week.
“We promoted the latest public health advice and introduced a range of additional hygiene measures at the event, including hundreds of hand sanitiser dispensers and extra washbasins.”
Reflecting on the pageant within the days after it drew to an in depth, Cheltenham chief Ian Renton admitted his aid, and mentioned the occasion had been “interesting”.
He mentioned on the time: “I’m relieved as it has been an interesting week with everything going on around the racing, but it is fantastic the day’s racing we have had today – to see probably one of the best Magners Gold Cups I can recall.”