CNY carnival canceled amid virus fears

Top News | Charlotte Luo 24 Jan 2020

A four-day Chinese New Year carnival suffered a second blow yesterday when organizers decided to cancel the annual event in the face of the Wuhan coronavirus threat.

The cancellation came after two cases of the virus were confirmed in Hong Kong.

"In view of the latest development of the novel coronavirus infection, the Hong Kong Tourism Board, after careful consideration of the need to protect the health and safety of local residents, visitors, performing groups and working staff has decided to cancel the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Carnival," the Hong Kong Tourism Board said last night.

The board said it will inform the travel trade, local residents and visitors of the relevant arrangements, and sincerely appreciates the support of all the event's sponsors, partners, performing groups, and exhibitors.

Amid ongoing protests, the boardannounced in November that a four-day food and beverage festival would be held to celebrate the Lunar New Year in 2020 instead of the usual street parade.

The estimated cost of the carnival was HK$42 million, compared with the HK$34 million spent on last year's parade.

The board had previously canceled the fireworks on National Day and New Year's Eve, as well as that on the second day of Lunar New Year.

The police have said they will implement special traffic arrangements in various districts in Kowloon and the New Territories to facilitate members of the public visiting Lunar New Year Fairs, which will run until the early hours of January 25.

Crowd safety management measures will be also implemented in Mong Kok District.

"For safety reason, Police may divert crowds to leave saturated areas when necessary. We also appeal to the public not to patronize unlicensed hawkers or conduct street performance in public places, so as to avoid causing obstructions, disorder and potential danger to others in the crowded area," the police said in a statement.

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