Monday 1 June, 2020

Carnival organisers optimistic events will go on despite coronavirus

Revellers at the carnival road march last year.

Revellers at the carnival road march last year.

Carnival organisers in Jamaica are maintaining a sense of optimism despite the increasing possibility that events could be cancelled after the first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed in the island on Tuesday.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton announced that a Jamaican woman who also holds UK citizenship had tested positive for COVID-19 days after she arrived in the island to attend a funeral. She is now being treated in hospital and contact tracing is now taking place to determine how many people the woman may have come in contact with.

Tufton also stated that public gatherings are being discouraged at this time, as well as non-essential travel. Many of the thousands of revellers who are expected in the island around carnival activities travel from overseas and many countries are now battling their own coronavirus outbreaks.

Tufton also said an announcement will be made by Wednesday about the staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships. This, he said will come after discussions with organizers ISSA, and main sponsor GraceKennedy.

However, in a letter addressed to "revellers" hours after Tufton’s announcement, Carnival in Jamaica bands Bacchanal Jamaica, Xaymaca International and Xodus Carnival indicated that they remain optimistic that the events will go ahead.

“Like all global citizens, we are concerned about the impact, and are committed to doing our part to minimize the spread of this virus,” they said.

“At this time, we continue to consult with the Government about precautions to be adopted over the next few months and the implications for the entire entertainment and tourism industries.

“We assure our masqueraders that we remain in full execution mode and are optimistic that Jamaica will be able to minimize the effects on our people and visitors in the near term,” they said.

COVID-19, which has already killed some 4,000 people worldwide and infected over 100,000, has triggered global concern. Several countries which are already battling to contain the coronavirus, are moving to curtail or cancel events which attract large crowds as part of efforts to contain or mitigate against the transmission of COVID-19.

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