A CONCERNED Prince Harry has demanded athletes’ safety comes first as the coronavirus threatens to devastate his beloved Invictus Games.
It is feared that many athletes, particularly those from Italy and Korea, may not be able to compete.
The event for wounded service personnel sees thousands of fans flock in from over 20 countries – representing a massive risk given the deadly outbreak of the highly contagious disease.
Reports earlier today claimed the Games – due to take place in May – are one of a growing number of sporting events at risk due to the killer bug.
The risk to the EU has been upgraded from moderate to high.
As a result, there are fears this could see host-nation Holland, which has just seen its first case, introduce bans like those in nearby France, where gatherings of more than 5,000 people are now banned.
Such a move would put the Games in peril and the Sun Online can exclusively reveal the Duke of Sussex, 35, is now receiving “daily updates” on the worrying situation.
We can also disclose that the royal was left “furious” at claims last month that he was not as hands-on with the event as in previous years.
Our source said: “Harry, like everyone else in the team involved in planning the Games, is very mindful about the impact coronavirus could have on the event.
“But Harry has been clear that the safety and welfare of those taking part comes before anything else.
“So this will be at the forefront of the minds of those drawing up an action plan to deal with the situation.
“Harry has an incredibly close bond not just with the Games but with those taking part.”
The source added that Harry, “is incredibly proud of the event and would be devastated if it had to be called off.
“But his team are updating him on a daily basis as to what the state of play is.
“It’s been suggested that with Harry stepping away from public life he will be less hands-on with Invictus.
“This simply isn’t true and Harry is angry at the idea he isn’t as involved.
“If anything, Harry hopes to dedicate even more time to being a part of the event.
“Meghan is passionate about it too and will be there in The Hague if the events goes ahead.”
Sources said earlier that the rapid spread of the virus has thrown plans for the week-long series of games in May into “chaos”.
One told HOAR: “There is a huge amount of concern and a lot of attention is being paid to how Holland deals with the virus and whether it spreads.
“There is concern many will be forced to stay at home — particularly if the situation does develop into a pandemic.
“Organisers are also worried about the dangers in the current climate of putting so many disabled athletes together in one place from different countries for a week.
“It is a logistical nightmare and a real worry for the people planning it.”
HARRY’S ROCK SESSION
Harry was seen smiling last week as he recorded a charity song for the event with rocker Jon Bon Jovi.
But the spread of the disease could put plans on ice in a massive blow to the Prince who created the games in 2014 after being inspired by the US Warrior Games.
It sees injured service personnel and veterans compete in nine sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and indoor rowing.
This would be the fifth event and Harry’s most high-profile event since he stepped back from official public duties.
Wife Meghan, 38, is expected to attend and be centre-stage at many events too.
The source added: “Harry takes the Games incredibly seriously and will be desperate to make sure they are a big success.”
The blow comes after Canada announced it would not foot the bill for Harry and Meghan’s security costs.
Last night, a games spokesman said organisers “are planning responses to various scenarios”.
Harry last week recorded a charity song for the games with Jon Bon Jovi
The pair were joined by the Invictus Choir at the famous Abbey Road studios