The world-famous steeplechase Grand National has been called off as a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus outbreak. As per reports, The Grand National championship that was scheduled to open on April 2 has been called off by the Jockey Club, which owns Aintree racecourse, where the entire three-day meeting was planned to be held. The latest development came after the United Kingdom government announced new public health guidance that advises against any non-essential gathering.
As per reports, the British Horseracing Authority, the sport’s ruling body had earlier announced that all racing events in the country would take place behind closed doors from March 17. Media reports suggest that the sports body's decision has forced the Jockey Club to cancel the Grand National.
A senior steward for the Jockey Club said in a statement, "The Randox Health Grand National Festival was just three weeks away and it’s very clear to us it will not be possible for the event to take place. We were working on a plan to stage the Grand National behind closed doors given its importance to the racing industry and beyond, but following the new government measures confirmed this evening to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak, this is not a viable option. Public safety must come first."
The Grand National has been the most popular betting event in England since it was started by a Liverpool hotelier in the 1830s to attract customers to his inn near Aintree. As per reports, the racing event attracts 1% of all racing bets despite being one of the 10,000 races that take place in the country annually.
The United Kingdom has so far recorded 1,543 cases of coronavirus, of which 52 patients have recovered fully. According to data acquired by worldometer, the United Kingdom has logged in 55 deaths since the virus first broke out in December last year. The total number of active cases in the country is above 1,400 of which 20 patients remain under critical condition.
The COVID-19 has claimed more than 7,100 lives across the world and has infected over 1,82,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally.