Ireland cancels all St. Patrick’s Day parades due to coronavirus

By | March 9, 2020

(CBS News)

All St. Patrick’s Day parades across the Republic of Ireland have been canceled due to coronavirus. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced the cancellations Monday, along with a €430 million ($492 million) aid package for the health service to deal with the virus, BBC News reports.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated globally on March 17 every year. Last year, more than 400 landmarks in more than 50 countries turned green for the patron saint of Ireland.

The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Republic of Ireland is held in Dublin, the capital, where about 500,000 people attended last year’s celebration, according to BBC News.

The Belfast City Council in Northern Ireland has also canceled plans for that city’s parade, as a precaution. Some parades in Northern Ireland are still scheduled, but are under review, according to BBC News.

Three new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the Republic of Ireland on Monday, bringing the total to 24 cases, BBC News reported. All three new cases are women who had close contact with other people already diagnosed with coronavirus. One of the women is a health care worker.

Varadkar said the Republic of Ireland would try to stay in the “containment phase” for as long as possible.

A new package of reforms for sick pay, illness benefit and supplementary benefits have been approved by government officials to ensure employees and the self-employed can self-isolate and stay home from work if needed.

As of Monday, coronavirus is blamed for at least 24 deaths in the U.S. — a fraction of the more than 3,800 deaths worldwide, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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