The nation of Ireland has canceled all St. Patrick’s Day parades, including the massive Dublin festivities, over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
The decision to nix large gatherings for the March 17 holiday was made Monday by a new government subcommittee on the virus, national broadcaster RTE reported.
The celebrations are known for kicking off the country’s tourism season with 500,000 revelers from around the world flooding the country of 4.8 million each year for the various parades in its towns and villages.
The popular Dublin parade alone has been responsible for more than 73 million euros — or $83.5 million — in revenue.
But a leading expert called on government officials last week to cancel the parade, arguing that the possibility of the virus spreading was high with visitors traveling from all over the globe.
“If I were in their shoes I would say ‘we must postpone it’, it’s not the end of the world for one year,” Professor John Oxford from Queen Mary, University of London told an RTE radio show.
The country so far has reported 21 cases, including the first case last week of community transmission.
Worldwide, the virus has spread to more than 110,00 people as the death toll climbs past 3,800.
With Post wires
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