Japan cancels cherry blossom festivals as virus fears grow
As cases of the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, Japan's famous cherry blossom festivals are the latest victim. The country cancelled all of its major cherry blossom festivals in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The traditional spring celebrations in Tokyo and Osaka, which attract millions of people wanting to seeing the white and pink flowers, will not go ahead as planned in April.
"We are sincerely sorry for those who were looking forward to the viewing... but please give us your understanding," the Japan Mint Bureau in Osaka said on Friday. The Osaka bureau is the government agency that supplies coins, but it is also famous for over 300 cherry trees standing on its premises.
Other cherry blossom events – feverishly anticipated by locals and tourists – are likely to follow suit, according to local media.
Organizers of Tokyo's Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival said people could still enjoy the blooming trees that grow along public roads.
Trees in Tokyo will soon be in full bloom, with friends, families and colleagues typically flocking to parks for sometimes raucous, alcohol-fueled celebrations.
The cancellations come as authorities step up efforts to tackle the outbreak in Japan, which has reported over 940 infections and 11 deaths.
Schools are closed and the government is urging people to work from home or commute during off-peak hours and avoid large gatherings.
The operator of Tokyo's two Disney resorts – Disneyland and DisneySea – said on Friday the parks would be closed for around two weeks due to the outbreak of the virus.
Universal Studios Japan in Osaka has also shuttered for a fortnight.
(All photos via VCG.)
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