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Coronavirus: authorities ring the premature end of the Venice Carnival

2020-02-23T20:17:08.598Z

As a security measure in the face of the coronavirus epidemic in Italy, the Venice Carnival festivities are canceled. The event was to end on Tuesday 25 February, but the Venetian authorities o…



Coronavirus: authorities ring the premature end of the Venice Carnival

Carnival, a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, is the event that attracts the largest number of visitors to Venice. REUTERS / Manuel Silvestri

Text by: RFI Follow

As a security measure in the face of the coronavirus epidemic in Italy, the Venice Carnival festivities are canceled. The event was to end on Tuesday 25 February, but the Veneto authorities preferred to be cautious. Its cancellation speaks volumes about the threat to the region.

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We will not know this year in Venice, which will win the competition for the most beautiful carnival mask. It was outright canceled, as was the costumed gondola rower race and all of the other Carnival festivities. The President of Veneto announced this Sunday the premature end of the event, which is expected to end next Tuesday.

Carnival is the event that attracts the most tourists each year to Venice, the lakeside city attracting up to 30 million visitors per year. In some years, before their number was limited to 20,000, up to 100,000 people could gather in St. Mark's Square to witness the "flight of the Angel", when a young girl leapt from the campanile attached to a rope, marking the start of the festivities. The economic benefits, in turn, amount to millions of euros.

Carnival is an institution in the city of the Doges. It dates back to the Middle Ages. Several historians establish it in 1162. Since then, this pagan tradition which precedes the entry into Lent had only very rarely been questioned in Venice. This was the case at the end of the 18th century, when the troops of the Directory led by Napoleon took control of the region. Bonaparte then feared that revolutionaries would hide behind the masks. During the fascist period, Mussolini also questioned the Carnival.

This time, it was the coronavirus that got the better of the tradition. The Veneto has seen the number of cases of Covid-19 infections multiply in recent days, first around the village of Vo 'Euganeo where a retired mason died on Friday. Since this Sunday, cases have been reported in Venice itself. For the moment, the official figures are 25 cases, including 19 at Vo'Euganeo. In total, the Civil Protection counted 132 cases of contamination in Italy, including two deaths and three cases imported from China. This makes Italy the first country in Europe by the number of infections.

►Also read - Coronavirus: the Italian government places a dozen cities in isolation

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Source: rfi

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