Coronavirus: Cheltenham defends decision to move forward with Festival


The Cheltenham Festival defended its move forward last month, fearing that the event had accelerated the spread of Covid-19 in the UK.

The four-day event from March 10 to 13 brought together more than a quarter of a million people. Others have since reported symptoms of the virus, including Southampton footballer Charlie Austin who speculated that he had contracted the disease during the races.

However, festival organizers insisted that they were operating according to guidelines issued by Public Health England at one time, which had not yet restricted mass gatherings, despite the deaths of six people in the UK and hundreds of positive tests at that time.

At the time, the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports declared that there was “no reason” to postpone major events, the government pursuing a policy of collective immunity, which was abandoned a few days later.

Organizers’ statement said: “The Festival ended three weeks ago and continued under the continued leadership of the government, like other popular sporting events in Twickenham, Murrayfield, 10 Premier League matches and the League UEFA champions at Anfield the same week.

“We promoted the latest public health advice and introduced a range of additional hygiene measures at the event, including hundreds of hand sanitizer dispensers and additional sinks.”


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