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Coronavirus prompts cancellation of Lunar New Year celebration in Queens

Shaye Weaver
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Shaye Weaver
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Although there have been no confirmed cases in New York, the coronavirus is putting a damper on some Lunar New Year events in New York City.

On Tuesday, Flushing Town Hall announced that it has cancelled its popular Chinese Temple Bazaar event that was slated for Saturday out of an "abundance of caution."

"After careful consideration and consultation with many local community leaders, members of our board of directors and our Chinese Cultural Committee, event sponsors, elected officials, and event participants, Flushing Town Hall has made the difficult decision to cancel this event," a rep for the center said. "The sentiment most expressed by those we consulted with, was that we should cancel this event out of an abundance of caution in light of genuine public health concerns. Our decision respects the feedback, concerns and requests for cancellation we heard from our community."

The event at the cultural center would have had live performances, hands-on activities, food and finished with a dragon parade at the Flushing Library.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do for Lunar New Year 

With almost 6,000 cases and 130 deaths confirmed in China, New York City officials have been addressing fears.

None of the nine New York cases tested for coronavirus were in New York City, although Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot reportedly says it's only a matter of time that it appears in the city.

At a press conference on Tuesday, she said that having a New Yorker diagnosed can help us all "breath a sigh of relief," she said, according to Patch. "The unknown is what drives people's fears."

Indeed, that uncertainty is what spurred on Flushing Town Hall's cancellation.

"Though there have not been any reported incidents of the Coronavirus in our area, Flushing Town Hall is aware of the concerns that many people in the community have about large gatherings at this time, especially because the full risks of the virus are not yet known," its statement says.

As of Wednesday, Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade was still on for February 9 and the China Institute's Family Festival was still on for this Sunday.

Barbot advised people to pay no mind to "misinformation" on social media, like that Chinatown should be avoided and that the virus could be contracted from a person not exhibiting symptoms.

"There is no reason to avoid subways or restaurants or to change your daily routine," Barbot said.

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