Governor Udom Emmanuel

By Isaiah Eka

Akwa Ibom Government has cancelled the hosting of this year’s annual Christmas Carol festival to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

The cancellation was made known in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Orman Esin, in Uyo on Thursday.

Esin said this was due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he noted had hindered preparations for the festival, which usually takes about six months ahead.

He said that in obedience to the WHO, NCDC and the State Government protocols on social distancing and the threat of a second wave of the virus, the festival had to be put on hold.

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“Akwa Ibom State Government wishes to inform the general public that the 2020 Edition of the state’s award-winning Christmas Carols festival has been cancelled.

“This development is hinged on the logistics challenges posed by the global lockdown and international travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the bourgeoning threat of a second wave of the virus.

“As expected of a world-class event of that magnitude, its preparation starts at least six months before the date.

“The global travel restrictions and closure of factories earlier in the year, made it impossible to commence the planning of this annual soul lifting spiritual event this year.

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“The government deeply regrets this development and urges citizens to take personal responsibility, in addition to government restrictions, to prevent the transmission of the dreaded virus,” he said.