This weekend revealed more cases of the coronavirus had landed in Britain with the amount of people now infected with the illness rising to 35 from the previous 23, which has sparked the betting markets to substantially cut the price off the Cheltenham festival to be called off.
With just over a week until the greatest show on turf is set to take place the festival has been put into serious doubt with the government strongly considering stopping large gatherings which would affect the festival seeing the betfair exchange only now offering the festival to be called off at 6/4 from the previous 13/8 last week.
Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, reported that the number of positive tests for the virus has risen to 35 after 12 new patients were identified in England across the weekend.
Whitty explained that three patients that had recently contracted the virus have been transmitted from someone in the UK, believed to be from the Surrey area, whilst another separate case has seen a patient from Essex get Covid-19 and not have any relevant international travel to get it from elsewhere.
This has been a new emergence with the past cases seeing six people come back from Italy with it, whilst two others had also been coming back from Iran.
These patients are from London, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire, where the Cheltenham Festival is due to begin on March 10th.
As of Sunday morning there has been over 11,000 people across the UK tested for Coronavirus and off the back of that the BHA spoke about their latest position on the steering group set in place to advise the racing world during the outbreak.
(Credit At The Races) The statement read: “The industry group continues to liaise closely with government and plan for a range of contingencies.
“We would encourage everyone in racing to focus on the government’s advice on personal health and their advice to employers and businesses. These are the actions that in the view of public health experts are the most important at this stage.
“Speculation about potential actions from government or racing, whilst wholly understandable in the circumstances, may simply distract from the advice on which the population is being asked to focus.
“At present racing continues as usual and the sport remains in agreement that there is no need to develop a policy regarding abandonment of any specific fixtures due to coronavirus at this time.
“We will continue to speak to government and should a situation arise where this is required then the sport has established mechanisms in place for handling such scenarios.”
French racing has been the latest to try and tackle the outbreak by staging three meetings this week behind closed doors.
The Cheltenham festival could tragically become part of a long list of sporting events that have been cancelled over the last month which include