(Reuters) - The British government said it currently had no plans to cancel or close off sporting events due to the coronavirus epidemic, after meeting sports bodies and broadcasters on Monday.
Dozens of major and minor sports events have already been called off around the world, or been forced to go ahead with no spectators present.
Britain’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said there had been discussion of contingency plans to cancel events or stage them behind closed doors “should the situation change and become necessary”.
“However, based upon the current scientific advice from the government’s medical experts, there is no rationale to close or cancel sporting events as things stand,” it said.
Among major sporting events scheduled in Britain in the next month are: in horse racing, the Cheltenham festival starting on Tuesday and the Grand National steeplechase on April 4; in soccer, regular Premier League matches and FA Cup and European Champions League ties; in rugby union, the final round of the Six Nations championship on March 14, although the only one of the three matches still going ahead is Wales vs Scotland.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Britain stood at 319 on Monday, up 46, the health ministry said.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey