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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

'Extremely disappointing': St Patrick's Day celebrations in London cancelled over coronavirus

The day has long been celebrated by the city’s Irish community.

The London St Patrick's Day parade in 2019.
The London St Patrick's Day parade in 2019.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

Updated Mar 13th 2020, 8:37 AM

ST PATRICK’S DAY celebrations in London have been called off, following on from the cancellation of events in Dublin and New York over coronavirus concerns.

In a statement this morning, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he was “incredibly disappointed” to announce that the “annual highlight for so many” was cancelled. 

“So I am incredibly disappointed that this year’s event has had to be cancelled as key performers and parade participants are no longer able to take part due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus.”

The day has long been celebrated by the city’s Irish community. Over 50,000 people are expected to attend this year’s festival over three days, with a parade on the 15 March and events centred around Trafalgar Square.

“London’s Irish community makes a huge contribution to our great city. I recognise that the unavailability of key performers and parade participants leaves no choice but to cancel,” said Khan. 

“I know this will be extremely disappointing news for so many Londoners and visitors to our capital.”

The London parade was due to travel through the city from Hyde Park Corner, through Piccadilly and along to Whitehall.

St Patrick’s Day events in Ireland – including the parade in Dublin – have already been cancelled, while the New York parade was also postponed this week. 

This morning, police in Northern Ireland will meet with Queen’s University, Ulster University and other organisations to brief the media on preparations for celebrations. 

Yesterday, UK prime minister Boris Johnson called Covid-19 the “worst public health crisis for a generation”. 

The UK is not yet closing schools, as in Ireland, but Johnson said that school trips abroad should be stopped, while people over 70 with serious medical conditions should not go on cruises.

The country is moving to the “delay” phase and Johnson also warned anybody living with somebody who is taken ill could be told to self-isolate for seven days.

The government is also considering whether to ban major public events. 

The number of people in the UK who have officially tested positive for coronavirus is 596.

Ten people have died in the UK after testing positive for Covid-19.  

With reporting from Adam Daly 

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