Hartlepool's annual Chinese New Year festivities cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak

Hartlepool’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations have been cancelled in response to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 6:00 am

An annual event attended by around 200 people including civic dignitaries was due to be held at the Best Western Grand Hotel on Sunday, February 9 as it has for the last 10 years.

But the organisers Hartlepool Chinese Association made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s festivities after the outbreak of the respiratory illness in China that has claimed 132 lives in the country so far.

There have been no confirmed cases of cornoavirus in the UK.

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Lion dance at a previous Chinese New Year celebration at the Grand Hotel, Hartlepool.

Peter Gowland, an advisor to Hatlepool Chinese Association, said: “This year sadly because of the coronavirus the decision was taken by the management committee of the association to cancel the event for public safety.

“It’s so sad. It is a really well established event in Hartlepool’s cultural calendar. It has been going for the last 10 years and is really popular.”

Planning for the New Year celebration was to include Chinese food, a lion dance and Chinese dancers.

Around 150 people who had bought tickets are being refunded.

MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill who was also due to attend the event said: “The Chinese New Year celebration in Hartlepool is a fantastic event, which is growing in popularity.

“It’s very sad, therefore, but understandable that the Hartlepool Chinese Association have cancelled this year’s get together in light of the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China and out of respect for those communities affected by it.

“Many Chinese families in Hartlepool and throughout the UK will be concerned about the safety and welfare of their relatives and my thoughts are with them and their families.

“It’s a real shame because the New Year Celebrations here are truly spectacular, but I’m confident that next year’s event will be a real triumph and I look forward to being there.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all travel to Hubei Province where the outbreak started, and all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said anyone who returns to the UK from Wuhan will be isolated for 14 days.