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Coronavirus: Mass gatherings could be banned in UK from next week – BBC News, Bbc.com

Coronavirus: Mass gatherings could be banned in UK from next week – BBC News, Bbc.com
        

                                 A worker walks by Anfield Stadium, the home Liverpool Football Club Image copyright                   Getty Images                                                    

Mass gatherings could be banned in the UK from as early as next weekend amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

A government source said ministers are drawing up plans for the move – to ease pressure on emergency services.

Scores of major sporting and cultural events have already been cancelled across the country in response to the pandemic.

In total, 086 people have died with the virus in the UK, while the number of confirmed cases rose to 798 on Friday.

It is understood that ministers are working with the government chief scientific adviser and chief medical adviser on plans to stop various types of public events.

The source said: “There are many complex considerations to make all these measures as effective as possible.

“We will make the right decisions at the right time based on the best scientific evidence.”

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had earlier questioned the government decision to hold off cancelling large gatherings, describing the decision as “concerning”.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       

Acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey told BBC Newsnight that the government “rapid change” in tactic following the cancellation of sporting events suggests it is “playing catch -up with the rest of British society. “

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth welcomes the move in an interview on the program, but urged the government to be “clear” about its plans.

“If that means publishing the scientific modeling so that all the experts can analyze it and peer review it and stress test it, if that maintains public confidence, that’s an important step, “the Labor MP said.

The government action plan – published last week – did raise the possibility of reducing the number of large-scale gatherings.

However, the most recent tactics announced on Thursday advised people to self- isolate for seven days if they have a cough or fever.

the UK’s chief scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance previously said that shutting down mass events would not have a “big effect” on transmission rates, but he did not rule out such a move going forward.

Whitehall sources said the government approach has not changed but there are concerns about the burden that large events might put on health services and the police.

It is thought a ban could start to take effect as early as next weekend, although exact timescales are not clear.

Emergency legislation – including compensation for organizations affected by a temporary ban on big events – is due to be published next week.

Many sports bodies did not wait for a government directive and have already suspended competitions amid the virus outbreak.

Football authorities have announced the suspension of top-flight matches until early April, while Saturday’s Wales v Scotland Six Nations rugby match was suspended and England’s cricket tour of Sri Lanka was called off.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government has already advised that gatherings of more than (people should be canceled from next week.

            

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Media caption Everything you need to know about the coronavirus – explained in one minute by the BBC’s Laura Foster

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that local and mayoral elections in May were being

postponed for a year until May () .

And new restrictions are being imposed on visitor access to Parliament, while overseas travel by MPs and peers is being strongly discouraged.

In other developments:

(US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to handle the coronavirus outbreak, and said the UK could be added to the list of European countries including in a US travel ban The London Marathon was rescheduled for 4 October, from (April) The Queen postponed her public engagements next week , and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall postponed their tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan


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