Coronavirus and Carnivals: an important update
Article updated on 17th March 2020
It's official, Coronavirus has become a pandemic.
Whilst China appears to be recovering from the outbreak, Europe's cases are on a steep increase. France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal have implemented lockdowns by closing schools, and high street business selling non-essentials.
In the US, a travel ban from Europe has been enforced and many cities have imposed the closure of bars, restaurant and entertainment venues.
The UK's approach is somewhat unorthodox, although apparently backed by science. As of today, non essential travel and contact are discouraged.
What is the situation in the Caribbean as of today?
On March 16th 2020 the following active cases have been reported on islands with a carnival planned between April and August
Jamaica - 12
Antigua - 1
US Virgin Islands - 1
Cuba - 4
Saint Lucia - 2
St. Vincent Grenadines - 1
Cayman Islands: 1
Saint Marteen (NL): 0
These figures are much lower than in the US or Europe in light of the population. (In France, 0.008% of the population is infected, in Jamaica, it's 0.00003% ).
Of course contamination can increase drastically within days so such figures are only relatively reliable.
Importantly also, many airlines have taken action to counteract losses.
British Airway and Virgin have cancelled 25% of their flights.
Will Notting Hill Carnival band launches be affected by the Coronavirus?
At present, no masquerade bands have issued an update on the situation.
Chocolate Nation costume reveal seems to be going ahead on March 20th and Karnival Mania 's on April 9th (see full list here).
However, since the UK government is now discouraging non-essential travel and contact, the band launches may well be cancelled.
What action have been taken for carnival in light of the pandemics?
Jamaica carnival has been postponed. It will now take place on October 19th - October 26th 2020
Saint Marteen carnival has been cancelled altogether.
No other changes have been reported so far on carnivals taking place between April and August.
It remained to be seen to which extent Notting Hill Carnival 2020 will be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
How about other festivals
As of today, March 16th, Glastonbury (24 Jun – 28 Jun 2020), the Wireless Festival (3 Jul – 5 Jul 2020) and Lovebox ( 12 Jun – 14 Jun 2020) are still going ahead.