Racing in Britain will be staged behind closed doors at all fixtures from Tuesday, initially until the end of March, starting with the meetings at Taunton and Wetherby, the British Horseracing Authority has announced.

Plumpton's next meeting is on Wednesday.

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed the decision in a statement on this afternoon.

It read: "Racing industry leaders have confirmed a plan to continue racing behind closed doors from tomorrow.

"Any fixtures that take place in England, Wales and Scotland, initially until the end of March, will take place without spectators and with restrictions on the number of attendees."

BHA chief executive Nick Rust added in the statement: "Racecourses and racing yards are embedded in their local communities, and we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to protect public health.

"The restrictions we are putting in place to close racing to spectators and limit attendees will reduce demand on public services. We also have a range of measures in place designed in response to the Government's guidance on public health - and we will continue to update these as appropriate.

"We acknowledge that today's decision will also impact on local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, who are struggling at this time. We are following the Government's advice to strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining business activity and will continue to do so. We thank our customers and staff for their support."

As the sport continues to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities in France have announced racing has been suspended from Tuesday until April 15. Meetings there have been run behind closed doors since the beginning of the month.

A statement issued on behalf of Jean-Pierre Barjon, of LeTROT, and Edouard de Rothschild, from France Galop, said: "The moment we are living in is exceptional and of unprecedented gravity.

"We know that we can count on everyone's commitment to contain the pandemic as quickly as possible; you can also count on our commitment and determination: no one will be abandoned."

Updated at 14.50pm to include BHA statement and quotes