Coronavirus Cheltenham 2020 health warning for racegoers

Racegoers with potential symptoms of coronavirus are being urged to stay away from the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, which begins next week.

The world famous meeting, from March 10-13, is set to welcome around 250,000 fans to Prestbury Park, to see top races such as the Magners Gold Cup and Unibet Champion Hurdle.

With the number of coronavirus standing at 90 in the UK, Cheltenham chiefs have encouraged people heading to the four-day fixture to cancel their plans if they feel unwell.

A public health notice, communicated by the British Horseracing Authority and Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, says it relates to anyone who has been to certain foreign places in the last fortnight.

"Do not travel to The Festival presented by Magners if you have any of the following symptoms – a cough, a high temperature or shortness of breath and have been to or transited through the high risk countries, or been in contact with anyone that has, in the last 14 days," it said.

"To protect yourself & others please do not travel & call HSE 112 or 999 for expert advice. These measures are in order to safeguard everyone’s health & wellbeing during the current public health situation.”

Cheltenham Racecourse and its hundreds of staff are following advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England, as well as the local government, in the build-up to the event.

Extra toilets and handwashing facilities have been brought in, while staff will be regularly topping up soap and sanitisers around the venue.

Antibacterial hand gel will be made available and posters will be a reminder of the public health message.

A spokeswoman for the racecourse said: “We welcome the government’s guidance that the business of the country should continue as usual, while ensuring we adhere to the latest public health advice.

“We have also increased staff numbers to ensure these facilities to ensure that soap and drying facilities are constantly available.”

The UK's coronavirus action plan is about to move to the 'delay stage', during which restrictions could be imposed on public gatherings.

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