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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Cork Racecourse set to be used as coronavirus test centre from Thursday onwards

The HSE began preparations to use the facility as a test centre on Tuesday.

The centre will operational from Thursday onwards.
The centre will operational from Thursday onwards.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

THE CORK RACECOURSE in Mallow is set to be used as a coronavirus test centre, Horse Racing Ireland [HRI] has confirmed.

The news comes following a meeting which was held by the board of the HRI this morning. Members discussed the implications of the Government’s announcement to suspend all horse racing fixtures until April 19.

The Board expressed its full support to the efforts of the Government to fight the transmission of Covid-19, and pledged the input of racing’s personnel and infrastructure to assist with combating the spread of infection.

Speaking after the meeting, HRI chairman Nicky Hartery explained that Cork Racecourse is set to be used as a coronavirus test centre from tomorrow onwards.

We have consistently said that racing’s facilities are at the disposal of the Government. Yesterday, the HSE began preparations to use Cork Racecourse in Mallow as a much-needed testing centre for the virus and the centre will be operational from tomorrow.

“Horse Racing Ireland will be working with the HSE and the Government to identify other elements of racing’s personnel and infrastructure that could be used in the co-ordinated reaction to the crisis.

“What is most important is that as a country we do all we can individually and collectively to fight the transmission of Covid-19 and focus on our health, ensuring that resources such as medical facilities and personnel are allocated where the need is most.”

The Board also reviewed the ten racing fixtures that took place behind closed doors since the original restrictions on public gatherings were introduced.

They found that these races were held in a safe environment.

We have run ten race fixtures behind closed doors over the last two weeks through the diligence of key stakeholders in the industry; key personnel in the racecourses, HRI and the IHRB staff; the Order of Malta and medical practitioners; and the media,” HRI Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh said.

“What this has proven is that race fixtures can be safely staged while at the same time offering some level of business continuity for a crucial rural industry. The vital experience gained from staging these meetings behind closed doors may assist us to return racing as soon as possible. For the immediate future, however, there are more important priorities.”

A number of GAA stadiums are also being used as coronavirus test centres, including Croke Park, Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Kilkenny’s Nowlan Park.

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