The danger of transmission of COVID-19 at high sporting occasions may be very low, says the British physician

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© Reuters. International Friendly – England versus Republic of Ireland

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(Reuters) – The likelihood of COVID-19 transmission during professional sporting events is very low, a British doctor who was studying the effects of the disease told Reuters on Friday.

Chris Orton, a research fellow at London Hospital in Chelsea and Westminster, said there had been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmission during a training session or live game in the UK.

The FA could not be reached immediately for comment.

Orton’s comments come on the same day that Irish midfielder Alan Browne tested positive for the novel coronavirus less than 24 hours after beating England in Thursday’s Wembley Stadium friendly.

Earlier this week, Croatian captain Domagoj Vida was sent off at half-time during a game against Turkey after the team received news that they had a positive COVID-19 result.

“As far as anyone at the government’s advisory board level is aware, there have been no confirmed cases of transfer in either training or physical activity,” Orton said.

“In the circumstances surrounding the games, you are probably much more likely to catch the virus. Your own team will be more at risk than your opponent, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily occur on the field.”

Orton, who has received a UK research and innovation grant to study aerosol releases in elite sport for COVID-19, said there were concerns about the spread of the virus in contact sports such as rugby.

Players involved in scrums, especially the “close five” of hookers, props, and locks, were at increased risk, Orton said, but the chances of transmission in games weren’t necessarily higher than in other sports.

“With video playback and global positioning system (GPS) tracking, it’s very easy to see who’s been in contact with whom,” he said.

“But not just stepping on the rugby field per se, it will be the same as on another.”

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