Coronavirus: Derry Halloween plans cancelled amid Covid surge

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Halloween carnival in DerryImage source, Lee McKinney/LMK Photography
Image caption,
A firework display over the Foyle is traditionally the finale of week long celebrations normally

Plans to hold scaled back Halloween firework displays in Londonderry have been scrapped to help curb the rise in coronavirus in the north west.

Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) announced in June the annual Halloween festival would not go ahead because of the pandemic.

Revised plans included a number of smaller firework displays in the city.

Those plans have now been cancelled to prevent public gatherings in the city, the council said.

Derry's Halloween festival usually draws thousands to the city and is billed as the biggest Halloween party in Europe.

In 2015, the city was named "best Halloween destination in the world" by a USA Today readers' poll.

A number of planned online Halloween events will go ahead this year, the council confirmed.

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There have been 1,030 confirmed cases in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area - 487 diagnosed in the past seven days.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Robin Swann said additional restrictions are "inevitable" in the area to tackle the recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

Meanwhile DCSDC said it was working to reinforce the public health guidelines with "businesses, sports organisations, schools, churches, the community and voluntary sector and young people" in the area.

A council spokeswoman said there is now increased environmental health inspections "to remind businesses across the council area of the Public Health Agency guidance on social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and the provision of hand sanitisers at their premises".

Mayor of Derry Brian Tierney added: "By following the simple rules around hand washing, keeping 2m apart, wearing a face covering and reducing the number of social contacts, we can all make a positive impact to reduce the numbers and keep people safe over the coming days and weeks."