ONE OF the biggest St Patrick's Day parades in the world has been postponed due to coronavirus fears.
The New York City St Patrick's Day parade joins Dublin, Cork and Boston among the cities which have cancelled the annual festivities amid the growing threat surrounding the contagious virus.
It is the first time the parade has been cancelled since its inception 249 years ago.
Gov Andrew Cuomo confirmed the news on Wednesday evening, 12 March, in an interview with CNN where he said the event, which draws two million spectators and 150,000 marchers, could not go ahead "in this environment".
He went on to say that the parade's organisers were not happy with the decision, but later released a joint statement alongside the Committee Chair of the St Patrick's Parade and Celebration Committee, Sean Lane, which stated that "the parade's leadership agreed to postpone this year’s parade due to the high density and the large volume of marchers and spectators who attend".
“While I know the parade organizers did not make this decision lightly, public health experts agree that one of the most effective ways to contain the spread of the virus is to limit large gatherings and close contacts, and I applaud the parade’s leadership for working cooperatively with us.”
“While the risk to New Yorkers remains low and we want to avoid social and economic disruptions, we have an obligation to take action to contain the spread of this virus,” Gov Cuomo added.
Committee Chair Mr Lane said that the annual parade will be held at a later date.
Over 200 people in New York are now confirmed to have the disease which has killed thousands worldwide.