Following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement this afternoon that citizens should avoid mass gatherings of over 500 people, the organisers of Sydney’s Royal Easter Show have pulled the plug on their 12-day event.
7 news reporter Sarina Andaloro broke the news, reporting the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) was heartbroken by the decision.
The RAS and Agriculture Minister ‘heartbroken’ an emotional decision which will be a ‘huge blow to morale’ in the bush after a tough year overcoming bushfires and drought. The @eastershow is much more than a carnival. https://t.co/4aL4vxECN4
— Sarina Andaloro (@sarina_andaloro) March 13, 2020
The RAS board is expected to meet tonight to formalise the decision. Over 800,000 people were expected to attend the show over the course of the event.
The president of RAS NSW, Robert Ryan, told Seven it was disappointing to cancel.
“There are many people who will be very upset by this decision, and this is the first time the Sydney Royal Easter Show has been cancelled because of a public health emergency since the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919,” Ryan said.
Meanwhile after several days of pummelling on the stock exchange, embattled travel company Flight Centre has announced it will be shutting up shop at around 100 of its service centres. The company said store closures will happen before the end of the financial year, with staff expected to be relocated to other stores.
Flight Centre MD Graham Turner said slashing costs was imperative for the company which has been particularly hard hit by the impact of coronavirus.
In other travel news, Virgin Australia has joined Qantas in cutting back on its international and domestic flight services. The airline also confirmed a female cabin crew member has tested positive for the virus. The crew member had contact with both members of the public and airline staff. Virgin has refused to reveal the city the staff member is based in or what flights she worked on, suggesting it was a privacy issue.
The airline statement said they are working on tracing contacts and the staff member is now in isolation.
“We have begun the process of determining the contacts of the team member during the time they would likely have been infectious and will be checking in on them regularly to check on their health”.
Earlier in the day, Queenslanders woke to the news that eight more people had tested positive for COVID-19. Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said one in four Queenslanders may eventually be infected with the coronavirus. Young suggested the majority of people would only get a mild dose of the virus, so it was essential that people are vigilant.
“Eighty per cent of them will get a very mild disease — they’ll possibly hardly even know they’ve got anything — that is a problem because they can still spread it,” she said.
Meanwhile, in Victoria, the Grand Prix has been cancelled. Race officials decided to cancel the event following Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ suggestion the event should not go ahead with spectators present.
Australian Grand Prix chairman Paul Little apologised for the cancellation saying: “The health and safety and welfare of the teams and people, the community generally, has to take precedence … and we look forward to hopefully being able to run this event at some later stage.”
Despite the apology, race fans were furious with the decision. Many had been queuing for hours to enter the event before the announcement was made over the loudspeaker.
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