Sunderland's Chinese New Year celebrations set to go ahead despite coronavirus outbreak
Sunderland’s Lunar New Year celebrations will go ahead as planned this weekend, despite the outbreak of deadly coronavirus in China.
Some celebrations in other parts of the country have been cancelled as a mark of respect and out of concern for public safety.
But Sunday’s event at the Museum and Winter Gardens will go ahead.
Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland Bid, said: “The Chinese New Year celebrations in Sunderland will go ahead as planned this Sunday as we have been given no reason to cancel them.
“All the performers and organisers of this event are from the region and none are travelling from outside the North East to take part.
“We have been in touch with the Department of Health and Social Care which has issued advice and on this basis everything will go ahead as planned.”
The Department of Health and Social Care says that the risk to individuals in the UK has not changed following confirmation two patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus.
Advice for travelers from Wuhan province remains unchanged.
The celebrations begin on Sunday, February 2, with a special event to mark the occasion at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.
Although Chinese New Year itself falls on January 25, across Asia it is celebrated up to two weeks after that date.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat.
The rat has characteristics including wit, alertness, flexibility and vitality.
A traditional dragon dance will launch the celebrations at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, starting at midday.
In the afternoon there will be displays, activities and crafts, ending at around 4pm.
Performances will include traditional lion dancing and martial arts demonstrations and visitors will also have the chance to try their hand at Chinese brush painting.
Other activities for all ages include zodiac badge making, constructing lucky red lanterns and a chopstick challenge.
The event is free, but Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is also holding an entry-fee event Zodiac Animal Trail from now until Sunday, February 23.
It costs £2.50 per child and trails are available to buy from the museum shop.