Virus cancels Fallas
THE Valencian Communities main fiesta, the Fallas festival, has been cancelled amid growing fears about the spread of the coronavirus. As non-essential large gatherings such as parties and sporting events are increasingly being cancelled or postponed it seemed inevitable that the Fallas, which involves millions of people, many of them travelling to the region, would be in danger. On Tuesday evening President Ximo Puig and his team gave the difficult announcement, making this only the third cancellation in the almost 150 year history of the event (the others being twice for wars and once for financial reasons). There will also be an economic impact, ranging from the half a billion or so euros the festivities generate for the Community to the full time fallas builders and designers who may find work thin on the ground as many of the statues will be put aside for 2021. The finer details will be decided on at local town hall level and some planned events may still go ahead, but not the main burning or anything likely to attract large crowds. At the time of the announcement 63 people were confirmed as suffering from the virus across the Valencian Community, a number expected to rise sharply over the next few weeks. The next major gathering will be for the Holy Week parades and no decision has been taken yet on whether they will proceed as normal.