Shepparton Chinese New Year event postponed due to coronavirus uncertainty

Shepparton Chinese New YearGoulburn Valley’s Chinese Association have put their new year celebrations on hold until the coronavirus threat has “settled”.

In a Facebook announcement on Friday, the Goulburn Valley Chinese Association said “uncertainties” about the virus – also known as COVID-19 – had led to the postponement of the Chinese new year event, which was meant to be held at KidsTown in Mooroopna yesterday.

Goulburn Valley Chinese Association secretary Nejat Akdere said a couple of the committee members believed the stigma around the virus would impact attendance numbers.

“There’s a bit of a fear-campaign going, unfortunately, and we wanted to have maximum attendance,” Mr Akdere said.

“We wanted to wait until the issue is more settled.”

He also said some community members who were wanting to attend the event had recently flown back from mainland China, and were required to isolate themselves as a precaution.

“Some members of the committee knew people who had returned from China who had to be on surveillance for a couple of weeks,” he said.

“We wanted to make sure that everyone can come.”

From January 31, the Federal Government has required Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families who had been to mainland China to self-isolate for 14 days after the time they had left the country.

This requirement – as well as the travel ban from mainland China into Australia for foreign nationals – was extended to at least February 22 on Friday.

Mr Akdere said the committee would meet today to discuss a future date, and suggested it might be merged with an event on May 2 called “Raising Bilingual/Multilingual Children in a Multicultural Society” at Eastbank.

He said the new date would be communicated to the public through the Goulburn Valley Chinese Association Facebook group and website.

GV Health chief medical officer John Elcock said last month – in what The News understands is still consistent – that GV Health had not seen any suspected cases of the disease, but was suitably prepared.

‘‘While GV Health has not had anyone present who is suspected of having coronavirus, the health service has plans in place if anyone should present at any of GV Health’s campuses with any symptoms relating to coronavirus,’’ Dr Elcock said.

‘‘If there is a need to come to the emergency department, please phone GV Health beforehand, so staff can give you a face mask before entering the health facility.’’

He said people should seek medical help immediately if they developed symptoms of fever, difficulty breathing, cough, sore throat or rash within 14 days of travel to Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, or an area with evidence of an outbreak, or had been in contact with a confirmed case.


Shepparton's Chinese New Year
Shepparton’s Chinese New Year will be celebrated when all can come.

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