Greece has cancelled all its annual Aporkies (carnival) festivities that were planned for this weekend as two coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Thessaloniki and one in Athens, raising the total to three, officials said.
“Based on the experts’ recommendation, and to protect public health, we have decided to cancel carnival events in all of Greece, as other European countries have done,” Greece’s Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said during a news conference.
Piraeus, which is one of the largest Carnival festivals in Greece officially cancelled the carnival celebrations on Thursday, shortly after the Health Ministry ordered the cancellation of all carnival events through to Clean Monday (March 2).
Patras, which holds the biggest festival each year is a port with major connections to Italy, with Mayor Kostas Peletidis saying that the cancellation is a “primary obligation, following scientific directives”, nevertheless “gave rise to bitterness, anger, and disappointment in city workers who put a lot of effort in preparing for the top carnival of Greece.” He added that a carnival will be scheduled for the last week of June. It will celebrate the new base of the Patras carnival, the refurbished complex once holding the city’s slaughterhouses.
Prior to an official announcement for the city, the Association of China-Greece Investors had addressed a letter to Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyiannis calling for the cancellation of the Athens festival “because of the emergency and dangerous state” and expressed “great regret but concern over the COVID-19’s spread.”
The largest Chinese association in Greece also said it had made a gift to Wuhan 7 hospital in China, “to show our fellow nationals our practical support in this great difficulty.”