Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has infected more than 80,000 people across the globe, 15 of whom are in the UK.
Amid fears of a global pandemic, some running events around the world including the Tokyo marathon have been cancelled due to health and safety fears, prompting some to question if the London marathon could be cancelled too.
While the UK Chief Medical Officers have said the risk to individuals in the UK remains low, London Marathon organisers have issued a statement as race day approaches on Sunday 26 April.
Will the London marathon be cancelled?
No – the London marathon won’t be cancelled, but the organisers are ‘monitoring’ the situation.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director at London Marathon Events said:
‘We, along with the rest of the world, are monitoring closely the developments relating to the spread of coronavirus and noting the updates and advice given by the UK Government, the World Health Organisation and other public bodies.
‘With two months to go before the event on Sunday 26 April, we will continue to monitor the situation.’
There are 59 days to go until one of the biggest sporting events in the world, which every year sees over 40,000 people run the 26.2-mile marathon route through the streets of London.
Is coronavirus in London?
Since the coronavirus outbreak spread beyond China in January, there have been 15 confirmed cases in the UK of the fatal bug.
Yesterday three firms in London – Chevron, Crossrail and media firm OMD – asked staff to work from home as a precautionary measure, after a staff member reported flu symptoms.
Additionally, four schools in the UK have shut completely for a ‘deep clean’ following the return of students from skiing in Italy.
Today Burbage Primary School in Buxton, Derbys has also been forced to close after a parent was confirmed as having the deadly coronavirus.
Experts are warning London could be at greater risk than other cities in Europe, due to its large population and admiration by tourists – with Doctors warning the Tube could help the virus spread like wildfire.
Earlier this month, a female Chinese national was the first person in London – and ninth in the UK – to be diagnosed with coronavirus.
Public Health England has said thousands of patients reporting flu-like symptoms will be screened for the infection, to try and avoid a surge in uptake of coronavirus, as seen in Italy over the last week.
However, speaking on Thursday 13 February, Dr Michael Head from the University of Southampton explained: ‘It should also be noted that of the 1,750 tests carried out so far in the UK, over 99% of those tested have been negative for the coronavirus.
‘Thus, risks to Londoners and UK residents remain low, though people should continue to keep an eye on guidance for the general public.’