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New York's St Patrick's Day parade still set to go ahead despite coronavirus concerns

The Taoiseach cancelled the New York leg of his US trip yesterday.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

Christina Finn reporting from New York

NEW YORK’S St Patrick’s Day parade is set to go ahead on 17 March, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The parade down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue is one of the largest Patrick’s Day parades in the world.

“We do not have a plan to cancel the parade at this point,” the mayor told reporters at the Office of Emergency Management headquarters in Brooklyn yesterday.

The mayor said his officials would continue to monitor the spread of coronavirus stating that “it’ll be a day-to-day thing”.

His comments come after the mayor of Boston announced yesterday that the city would cancel its annual St Patrick’s Day Parade. The cancellation of the Dublin parade was also announced yesterday.

New York State has 173 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 36 in New York City.

Today it was announced that the National Guard was being deployed to a Westchester County community.

New Rochelle is understood to have the largest cluster of cases in the United States

Speaking on MSNBC, De Blasio said New York city, which has a population of 8.6 million people, cannot shut down due to undue fear.

New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York last week, stating that he did so in order to access federal funding quicker and without the red tape. Today, he criticised the authorities for the lack of available coronavirus tests.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was due to arrive in New York today. His trip was cut short at the last minute yesterday when it was announced that he would instead be travelling straight to Washington DC tomorrow, ahead of his Oval office meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Irish media had already arrived in New York to report on events when it was announced that Taoiseach would not be travelling.

Leo Varadkar was due to attend an event at the United Nations Buildings today. The Irish government hope to secure a seat on the UN Security Council when the vote is held in June. 

Today, the UN said it would close its headquarters to the general public, suspend tours, and limit the number of staff there from 8pm tonight, a spokesman for the secretary-general said.

ABC News states that the decision is being made out of an abundance of caution amid an increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

The secretary-general said that the health and safety of staff is a matter of his utmost priority and concern.

Earlier today, President Trump urged Americans to remain calm in the face of fear about the spread of coronavirus in the US.

“It will go away, just stay calm,” he said.

TheJournal.ie’s Political Correspondent Christina Finn will be bringing you all the latest updates from Leo Varadkar’s visit to Washington DC this week, including his meeting with US President Donald Trump on Thursday.

Stay up-to-date by following @christinafinn8@TJ_Politics  and TheJournal.ie’s Facebook page

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