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Coronavirus: North West 200 to go ahead but organisers 'monitoring situation'


Over 100,000 people flock to the North West every year.

Over 100,000 people flock to the North West every year.

Over 100,000 people flock to the North West every year.

North West 200 organisers have said this year's event is still going ahead, however they are monitoring developments around the coronavirus outbreak.

Race week - billed as Northern Ireland's largest outdoor sporting event - takes place on May 10 to 16, at the Coleraine triangle circuit.

Around 100,000 usually flock to the north coast for the event.

In a statement, organisers said: "Following the outbreak of coronavirus in Northern Ireland, the organisers of the 2020 fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 have sought advice from the relevant government and public health officials.

"Dr Michael McBride, chief medical officer for Northern Ireland, has advised that, at this particular time, evidence of benefit from cancelling outdoor sporting events in terms of impact is low.

"We will continue to seek advice and monitor the situation on an ongoing basis as we prepare for 2020 Race Week on May 10-16."

Dr McBride has advised against further cancellations of mass outdoor events in the battle to contain the spread of the virus.

His comments came after councils across Northern Ireland cancelled St Patrick's day parades.

"I'm not being critical of people who have cancelled events, but I am following the science," he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"People will make decisions to cancel events, but if a football match is played behind closed doors, people will gather to watch it in a pub. That's a higher risk environment.

"With outdoor events, the risks are less.

"There are only limited benefits to cancellations. We also have to weigh up the social and economic gains and losses."

Belfast Telegraph