Following government announcements, many major arts events are now cancelled due to fears of the Covid-19 virus spreading through large public gatherings.
Amongst the cancelled performances are the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Royal Easter Show, the Byron Bluesfest and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Other large events that have been cancelled include the Parramatta multicultural festival and the Blue Mountains Music Festival.
While these steps are acknowledged to be quite extreme, organisations have followed government directives to restrict non-essential gatherings to less than 500 people to reduce any possible transmission from close contacts. Football and cricket games have also been impacted and will be played inside a “silent” stadium.
NSW hospital are implementing contingency plans to deal with the expected influx of cases after 14 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in NSW over the last weekend. Most of these cases were associated with travellers returning to Australia. Aged care facilities have been given specific guidelines asking family and friends to limit their visits to relatives to reduce the likelihood of infection.
To date, five deaths and 368 confirmed cases due to the coronavirus have been recorded in Australia. It is not known how long these new restrictions will apply.