Glastonbury coronavirus cancellation threat as organisers ‘monitoring’ outbreak

Glastonbury Festival bosses have responded to the threat that the event may have cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Fears have been raised by some Glastonbury-goers after the government warned that "reducing mass gatherings" might be appropriate as 51 people have been taken ill in the UK.

However, the festival, which opens its gates in June for its 50th anniversary, has said it is continuing to plan and prepare for the event.

Glastonbury bosses have admitted however they are “monitoring” the fast developing situation.

It came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson today unveiled the government’s action plan as the outbreak continues to spread worldwide.

Coronavirus could leave up to one fifth of Britain’s work force off sick, lead the deployment of the military, and makeshift morgues to cope with the death toll.

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According to Somerset Live, Adrian Coombs, Glastonbury Festival’s Head of Event Operations, said: “Glastonbury Festival thoroughly plans each year's event, and puts in place all necessary measures to protect the public and maximise safety.

"We work closely with all of the relevant agencies, including Public Health England and the NHS, and always review our plans as any circumstances change.

"With this in mind and with our 2020 Festival still 16 weeks away, we continue to plan and prepare for the event, whilst at the same time closely monitoring developments with the coronavirus situation.”

More than 200,000 people are expected to travel to Pilton in Somerset for the five-day event, which takes place from Wednesday, June 24 to Sunday, June 28, 2020.

Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney have already been announced as headliners for Glastonbury Festival 2020.

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Meanwhile, the government is launching an expanded public information campaign urging people to wash their hands as it seeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The adverts will drive home the message that frequent hand-washing remains the single most important action the public can take in the fight against Covid-19.

It follows the unveiling on Tuesday of the Government's "battle plan" for tackling the disease outbreak.

The adverts – to be rolled out across print, radio, online and billboards – will reinforce the need for people to wash their hands more often.

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It includes when people come in from home or work, after they blow their nose, cough or sneeze, and before they eat or handle food.

Washing should be for 20 seconds, using soap and water or hand sanitiser.

It will also underline the importance of coughing or sneezing into tissues before binning them.

Meanwhile, today The Queen was spotted wearing gloves as she handed out honours – but Buckingham Palace declined to comment if it was due to coronavirus.

Launching the plan at a Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had "no doubt at all" that the "country is going to get through coronavirus, and get through it in good shape".

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He said it was "highly likely" the UK would see more widespread infection than at present, but added: "Let me be absolutely clear that for the overwhelming majority of people who contract the virus, this will be a mild disease from which they will speedily and fully recover, as we have already seen."

Mr Johnson told reporters that "keeping the country safe is the Government's overriding priority", and the plan shows "we are committed to doing everything possible".

Government scientific experts predict the UK would see a coronavirus peak two to three months after sustained person to person transmission becomes established across the country.

There will then be a further two to three months of decline, meaning an outbreak could last around four to six months.

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The Department of Health and Social Care said later that fire and rescue services would also only focus on their most critical functions if a pandemic was reached.

There would also be the emergency registration of health professionals who have recently retired, and the introduction of emergency indemnity coverage for health workers.

The document warns that the new strain of coronavirus means people have a lack of immunity to it, meaning "Covid-19 has the potential to spread extensively".

Everyone is susceptible to catching the disease and thus it is "more likely than not that the UK will be significantly affected".

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During Tuesday's press conference, Mr Johnson pointed to "long-established plans" by which the police would keep the public safe but would "prioritise those things that they have to do".

He added: "And the army is of course always ready to back-fill as and when, but that is under the reasonable worst case scenario."

Mr Johnson also told reporters he continues to shake hands with the people he meets.

He said: "I am shaking hands, I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were coronavirus patients and I was shaking hands with everybody you will be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands.

"People must make up their own minds but I think the scientific evidence is … our judgment is that washing your hands is the crucial thing."

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "The UK is a world leader in preparing for and managing disease outbreaks and I have every confidence in our nation's ability to respond to the threat of COVID-19.

"We all have a role to play in stopping this disease and that's what this expanded campaign is all about – making sure the public knows exactly what they should be doing to keep themselves and others safe.

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"Washing hands regularly is the single most important thing that an individual can do.

"Public safety remains our top priority. The Government and the NHS are working 24/7 to fight this virus.

"It's imperative that everyone follows clinical advice by contacting NHS 111, and not going to A&E if you develop symptoms."

  • Glastonbury Festival
  • Coronavirus

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