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Lunar New Year events cancelled in B.C. over concerns of Wuhan coronavirus spread

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At least two Lunar New Year events in the Lower Mainland were cancelled Saturday over concerns about the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

Posters advertising an event at Semiahmoo Mall in South Surrey, set to feature performances from dance and martial arts groups, were affixed with a sticker saying it was cancelled “as a precaution.”

One of the groups slated to perform told Global News they had been informed by the mall the event was cancelled, but they were not told why.

READ MORE: ‘There’s no hope to get out’: B.C. woman’s daughter trapped in Wuhan due to coronavirus

In a statement Saturday, the mall said the decision to cancel the event was made by the Chinese Village Club.

“We know how seriously the situation is and the disease could pass from human to human easily,” the club said in a message to the mall that was shared with Global News.

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“Since there are some family members coming back from China recently, we are very afraid of have potential virus carrier among them.”

A view of the notice telling shoppers at Semiahmoo Mall in South Surrey is cancelled due to concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus.
A view of the notice telling shoppers at Semiahmoo Mall in South Surrey is cancelled due to concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus. Reddit

The club went on to say the delay in visible symptoms of the respiratory illness could lead to exposure.

Another event in Langley, a gala at the Christian Life Assembly church, was also cancelled Saturday.

The church told Global News the event was cancelled at the last minute by organizers with the Live in Langley Chinese Association. The event’s website says the cancellation was due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

READ MORE: Amid coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan-born woman raising funds to send medical supplies home

Health officials have been wary about the approach of the Lunar New Year in light of the disease, with many families travelling from China to Canada for celebrations.

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Wuhan has been on lockdown since Wednesday night, with Chinese military blocking access to roads, transit stations and airports.

At least 41 people have died since the start of the outbreak, which has made over 1,300 people sick in China alone. The vast majority of the cases and deaths have been in the Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital.

Sixteen surrounding cities have also been placed on lockdown, with the Chinese military blocking access to roads, train stations and airports.

The virus has also spread to 11 other countries, including Australia, France and the U.S., where two cases have been confirmed.

In Canada, the first presumptive case was announced Saturday in Toronto.

READ MORE: Risk of British Columbians contracting Wuhan coronavirus is ‘very low’: BC CDC

Health officials in B.C. say they are closely monitoring that case, but said there are still no confirmed cases in the province. No cases have been confirmed in other provinces or territories.

Enhanced screening is in place at Vancouver International Airport as well as airports in Toronto and Montreal, with all international travellers being asked if they have visited Wuhan.