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Holiday fireworks, parade and Christmas tree lighting cancelled due to pandemic

05 December 2020

By The SUN 

Jan 2019 was the last fireworks display on New Year's Eve in HK

Friday was the start of Hong Kong WinterFest, but people would be hard put to tell because the huge Christmas tree which used to be lit up starting this day at Statue Square in Central, was not installed this year.

And it’s all because of the extra precautions being taken to maintain social distancing amid a new outbreak of the coronavirus in the city.

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Officials said they will instead organize a virtual tour of “Christmas Town,” from which people can learn to make Christmas wreaths, candlesticks and other handmade products online.

No details were, however, made immediately available.

Also among the casualties of the coronavirus contagion are the New Year’s Eve countdown and fireworks display, and the Chinese New Year grand parade.

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This will be the second straight year that the New Year’s Eve festivities are not being held. Last year, they were also cancelled because of the anti-government protests.

Residents will just have to contend with posing in front of Christmas displays in malls

Likewise cancelled is the Chinese New Year parade, traditionally held on the first day of the Lunar New Year. The event, where gaily gilded floats, acrobats and dancers from all over the world regale audiences from both sides of the harbour, used to be the main attraction of the three-day festivities.

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The Hong Kong Tourism Board said in a statement issued Friday that the fireworks display is being cancelled because of the need to follow social-distancing measures.

As for the parade, the HKTB said performing groups from abroad won’t be able to come to Hong Kong because of Covid-related travel restrictions.

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In place of the two events, the HKTB said it’s considering an "online and offline" celebration to usher in the Year of the Ox. The details will be announced later.

As a further dampener, the MTR also announced that there won't be any overnight train services on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve because of the pandemic.

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As early as next Saturday, in fact, the MTR says it will temporarily reduce train frequency during non-peak hours on the Island and Kwun Tong lines, following a drop in passenger numbers.

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