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After nearly two months of speculation, aand frustration, organiser NHCL has announced that has decided to cancel this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, due to have taken place on Sunday 30 and Monday 31 August 2020. The National Steelbands Panorama on Saturday 29 August is also cancelled.

In a statement issued at 1pm today, Notting Hill Carnival Ltd said:

After lengthy consultations with our strategic partners and our Advisory Council, the Board has taken the decision that this year’s Carnival will not take place on the streets of Notting Hill as it has done for over 50 years… This has not been an easy decision to make, but the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way in which it has unfolded means that this is the only safe option. Everyone’s health has to come first.

The announcement has come as no surprise, as all major public events – including carnivals – have been cancelled through the summer in the UK and worldwide. Many in the community wondered why it was taking NHCL so long to come to what looked to be an inevitable decision in the light of the threat from the Covid-19 coronavirus and the impossibility of social distancing at such a crowded and tight-packed event.

The decision will nevertheless come as a bitter disappointment to many carnivalists, who had been desperately hoping that, against all the odds, they would be able to mark their freedom from lockdown with a joyous celebration on the streets at the end of August.

Guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) is clear: so long as there’s a serious risk of Covid-19 infection in a country, and if there is no effective means of social distancing or testing and isolating people feeling unwell at the event, mass gatherings (such as carnivals) should not be permitted. WHO spokesperson Dr Margaret Harris told Soca News: “WHO recommends that any decision to restrict, modify, postpone, cancel, or proceed with holding a mass gathering should be based on a standardized risk assessment exercise. These decisions should be part of a comprehensive approach taken by national authorities to respond to the outbreak.” Guidance on risk assessment can be found on the WHO website, www.who.int.

The original article can be found here.

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