Coronavirus: CDC recommends to postpone, cancel gatherings of over 50 people in US

Seema Hakhu Kachru

Houston, Mar 16 (PTI) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US has recommended to postpone or cancel events having a gathering of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks amid stepped up efforts to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus that has claimed 69 lives in the country.

According to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, the COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 3,700 people, including 69 deaths, in the US as the authorities placed travel restrictions, closed schools, restaurants and bars and cancelled entertainment events across the country to contain the deadly virus.

The CDC, in a statement on Sunday, said that large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the US through travellers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities.

Large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other types of assemblies.

These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals, it said.

'CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organisers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the US,' it said.

The national public health institute stated that events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing. When feasible, organisers could modify events to be virtual, it said.

It, however, clarified that the recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses.

This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus, it said.

The deadly virus, which originated in China, has claimed over 6,500 lives and infected more than 169,000 people over 135 countries and territories. PTI SHK RS RS