The University of Arizona’s annual Chinese New Year festival that would have taken place of Feb. 1 was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, according to UAGlobal.
The event, which usually welcomes families from China, would have celebrated the Year of the Rat with many different live performances including martial arts, music, and dance.
Tickets, which were being sold for $15-$18 were refunded through the UA Confucius Institute and are still in the process of being refunded to everyone.
“UArizona usually hosts a large and vibrant Chinese New Year Festival involving performers from local schools and groups as well as performers from China who come to make the event even more special," said senior vice president for academic affairs and Provost Liesl Folks. "This year, because of the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), travel to and from China is understandably very challenging, making it impossible to deliver the wonderful program that had been planned.”
The event was expected to host over 1,700 people according to Zhao Chen, the director of the Confucius Institute. It is currently under consideration for a reschedule, but the department is unsure at this time. Due to the grandeur of the event, it was difficult to get everything in order for those who would have been in attendance at the event.
“[Some challenges faced] were working with the department and everyone having the same understanding of the situation,” said Chen. “It was hard to organize travel arrangements as well and communicate with the audience why we came to this decision.”
The decision was finalized on January 27, five days before the event took place. According to Provost Folks, who was amongst the group that decided to cancel the event, it was hard to know if it was the right decision.
“The decision was based on the best information available from the US CDC and the WHO,” said Provost Folks. “The global community today is still greatly challenged to contain the viral outbreak.”
The coronavirus can be transferred from person to person who are in close contact. According to the CDC, symptoms can appear in the form of a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Washing your hands thoroughly and avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose constantly are good ways of preventing the spread of the virus.
The coronavirus has been spreading throughout the world since mid-January. Since, the United States has declared a state of emergency which started Feb. 2, the first time in 50 years. anyone who has been to China in the past 20 days will be quarantined. According to the New York Times, China has seen the coronavirus claim the lives of 349 people. There are currently no confirmed cases in southern Arizona.
“We are deeply sorry to disappoint our local community with this cancellation,” said Provost Folks, “and our thoughts and sympathies are very much with the many scholars and artists in China who are dealing with the many painful ramifications of this outbreak.”
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