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Auckland Council announces cancellations of major events to limit potential of COVID-19 spread

As indicated by Mayor Phil Goff on March 16, Auckland Council will be cancelling a number of major events, including the Auckland International Cultural Festival and the Music and Movies in Parks series, as well as other community events, to protect people from the potential spread of COVID-19.

The decision was made following the cancellation of Pasifika and Polyfest and the government’s announcement on Monday that all gatherings of more than 500 people will not go ahead.

"To date the Ministry of Health has advised that the risk of community spread of COVID-19 remains low," Mayor Goff says.

"However, we have seen internationally how fast infections can spread, so we are taking decisive action to constrain potential transmission among our communities. Cancelling large gatherings is an effective way to reduce the risk of further infections and will help keep people safe.

"I know this will be disappointing for Aucklanders, including those who have worked so hard to prepare for the International Cultural Festival and the Music and Movies in Parks series, as well as other events, but keeping people safe has to come first-protecting our communities by limiting the spread of COVID-19 is our primary consideration."

Councillor Alf Filipaina, chair of the Parks, Arts, Community and Events committee, supported the cancellations.

"We need to act fast to minimise the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and help ‘flatten the curve,’" he says. "We’re disappointed to have to cancel these events, but this decision is in the best interests of our communities."

As at Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the following events have been cancelled:

The Auckland International Cultural Festival

The Music and Movies in Parks series

Citizenship ceremonies with more than 500 people

Silo Cinema events.

The council is looking at all events planned over the next few months to confirm which need to be cancelled, postponed or adjusted and will issue further updates with full details once these are confirmed.

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