RUGBY League players are being advised to avoid handshakes and signing autographs among other things to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

It is in line with advice issued to the sport sector following the government’s unveiling of its action plan to combat the illness.

The Rugby Football League says that currently, they are not proposing restrictions on matches in the UK and that the season will proceed as normal.

However, it says it will continue to monitor events and is formulating contingency plans for such eventualities as the government cancelling sports events or requesting matches be played behind closed doors.

The RFL is also monitoring the position in France and Canada – the French government has imposed a restriction of 5,000 people for indoor gatherings but there are currently no restrictions on Catalans Dragons and Toulouse home matches.

The current advise for the sports sector is:

• That there is presently no rationale to close or cancel sporting events, but this may change as the situation evolves;

• Anyone with flu-symptoms should avoid the risk of spreading their infection, whatever that infection may be, by staying at home and recovering;

• For those hosting sporting events, whatever their size, attendees and participants should stay up to date on the government’s latest advice on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus, which is here.

• As the situation progresses, we might advise the frail, elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions (to be defined) to stay away from gatherings as part of general advice aimed at minimising unnecessary contact with others;

• For those travelling to sporting events overseas, the Foreign Office’s travel advice should be followed here and travellers should note that apart from the countries and territories named in that advice, the government is not presently advising against travel to anywhere else;

• For those who offer community and leisure services, such as running a local football team; or running a gym; hand hygiene should be strongly promoted and encouraged, and equipment and facilities should be thoroughly cleaned and wiped down as usual following use. The government is planning to publish specific advice on this shortly; and

• There is presently no reason people should stop doing their daily sport and physical activities as they normally would

Advise to players is as follows:

- Greet teammates, friends etc with a fist bump or a wave not a handshake, kiss or man hug;

- Waves and fist bumps for fans (rather than high fivess, hand swipes or handshakes – especially if fans are elderly or have disabilities) – risks are of course extremely small but this shows consideration for all

- Selfies rather than taking items for signing is sensible.