A senior government medical adviser has told members of the music industry it is unnecessary to ban live events in the UK over concerns about coronavirus.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in the UK rose to 164 today (March 6), with two deaths confirmed so far.
In a conference call held with members of the UK Live Music Group and other event organisers earlier this week (March 2), deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said there was “no clear rationale” for cancelling events in the wake of the global pandemic. According to industry website IQ, he explained that because the virus has a relatively small radius of infection of approximately two metres, the most likely places of infection were homes, schools, workplaces, pubs and public transport.
However, Van-Tam added that the government will continue to look at the evidence on a case-by-case basis and evaluate the appropriate steps necessary as the fight to control coronavirus continues.
Yesterday (March 5), the UK’s chief medical adviser Professor Chris Whitty said the second phase in the government’s four-part plan to tackle the outbreak was to “delay”, the BBC reports.
Measures that could be taken in this step include banning large events, closing schools and encouraging people to work from home. The UK is currently in the first phase – “contain” – and the government will announce if they need to move on to the second phase.
A number of artists have cancelled shows as coronavirus continues to spread across the world, including Yungblud, Slipknot, Mariah Carey, and BTS. Ultra Music Festival in Miami has been cancelled, while Glastonbury’s head of event operations has said the festival team were “closely monitoring developments”.
“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,” Adrian Coombs said. “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.”