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Halifax’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

A child takes in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Halifax on March 11, 2017. Global News

The St. Patrick’s Day parade that was scheduled to be held on Sunday has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Halifax St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society announced the cancellation in a release on its website Thursday afternoon.

“We feel it is in the best interest of public health and safety to do so,” the society stated. “We know that this is disappointing news for many but hope everyone can understand the importance of taking extra precautions at this time.”

READ MORE: NSHA expects increased number of people to test for coronavirus after March break

The parade was supposed to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday. The society says the flag-raising scheduled for Friday has been cancelled, as well.

“Although many of us won’t be together this St. Patrick’s Day week in Halifax, we hope you still find time and creative ways to celebrate and recognize St. Patrick’s Day and the wonderful country of Ireland,” the society continued.

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There have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, but the province’s health authority expects cases will come as more are confirmed across Canada.

Dr. Todd Hatchette, chief of microbiology for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said Thursday he expects the number of cases to increase after students return from March break.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: NSHA coordinating with partners on ventilator availability' Coronavirus outbreak: NSHA coordinating with partners on ventilator availability
Coronavirus outbreak: NSHA coordinating with partners on ventilator availability – Mar 12, 2020

The World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak of novel coronavirus a pandemic on Wednesday.

READ MORE: NSHA opens coronavirus assessment centres across the province

There are now more than 121,000 cases in 118 countries, according to statistics from researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

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