Coronavirus fears make Sport Relief move celebrity Mongolia trek to Namibia

Comic Relief made the decision because a health crisis has been declared in neighbouring China

Sport Relief’s planned 100-mile celebrity trek across a frozen lake in Mongolia has been moved to the sand dunes of Namibia because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision by Comic Relief, which runs Sport Relief every two years, comes after a health crisis was declared in China, which borders Mongolia, because the coronavirus has infected tens of thousands of people.

Coronavirus has led to severe travel restrictions in China and has forced Comic Relief into changing the location of the expedition from Mongolia to a 100-mile journey across the Namib Desert. 

The same celebrities, including the radio presenter Nick Grimshaw, the EastEnders actor Samantha Womack and the television personality Rob Rinder, will take part in the trek, which is due to feature on BBC One next month.

The biennial Sport Relief telethon is back on Friday 13 March. It raised £38.2m in 2018.

Ruth Davison, interim chief executive of Comic Relief, said: “After closely monitoring travel advice, we have decided to relocate our international fundraising challenge, which starts this weekend. We have been looking at a range of locations and challenges, and we think that the Namib Desert expedition is a fitting alternative.

“We are extremely grateful for our team of celebrities, who have not wavered in their passion and determination to want to take on a challenge for us, which is extraordinary in itself. We hope the public will join us in giving them our full support as they push themselves to the limits to raise money for Sport Relief.”

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