The organisers of the St Patrick’s Day Festival said today they will take “a measured and proportionate response” to the public health threat from the new coronavirus.
The spread of the virus to countries which will be sending participants to the festival has raised questions about it going ahead.
In a statement today, the organisers said that following detailed meetings yesterday with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, it has been confirmed to St Patrick’s Festival that the National Public Health Emergency Team has established an expert sub-group to develop criteria for the risk assessment of mass gatherings.
This criteria is expected to be made available early next week.
“The direction from the NPHET to all events has been to await this risk assessment in order to determine the next course of action in relation to the staging of events including the St Patrick’s Festival Parade in Dublin on March 17.
“We have underscored the very urgent need for this documentation to be made available to the festival, so that an informed and prompt decision can be made regarding our forthcoming events.
“We have clarified to the relevant authorities our readiness to respond in whatever way is required of us in the best interests of public safety.”
The statement said the St Patrick’s Festival will take a measured and proportionate response to the public health threat of the new coronavirus COVID-19, in line with the guidance and recommendations of the HSE, the NPHET.
“We remain firmly committed to ensuring the well-being and safety of our audiences, both domestic and international. We will continue to engage with our partners, funders and participants.”
Not long after the World Health Organisation said it was steeling itself for a "potential pandemic" as coronavirus cases increase worldwide, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was busy telling America it was just a matter of perspective.