LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The annual Lunar New Year event in downtown Los Angeles went forward as planned Saturday despite a similar event being canceled in Alhambra over novel coronavirus concerns.
Tens of thousands of people were expected for the 121st annual Golden Dragon Parade –organized by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of L.A. However, some attendees said that this year’s turnout, despite perfect weather, was smaller than years prior.READ MORE: Los Angeles Clippers Hold Off Lakers, 119-115
“This year seems a little bit smaller than last year,” Bryce Barrows said.
They believe coronavirus concerns may be to blame.
“We’re just trying to prevent ourselves from being sick,” said sisters Natasha and Elizabeth Daniels, who wore face masks to the parade.
The parade began at the intersection of Hill and Ord streets and circled around to North Broadway. Several roads were shut down for the event.
The city of Alhambra Friday announced it was postponing its own Lunar New Year celebration Saturday. However, despite Alhambra’s decision, state and county health officials said in a news conference Friday afternoon that they were not recommending the cancellation of public events.
“There is no sustained person-to-person spread transmission of this virus, the novel coronavirus, in our United States,” said Dr. Muntu Davis with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.READ MORE: Gaudreau, Tkachuk Lead Flames Over Ducks In Shootout
“It is important to stick to the facts, and dispel any misinformation going around about the virus,” state Assemblyman Ed Chu added.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti attended the parade, saying, “The flu is a bigger threat right now than coronavirus. We are going to everything we can to not only protect this city but protect this country.”
Alhambra officials hope to reschedule their celebration for sometime in May.
So far, California has three confirmed cases of coronavirus: one in L.A. County, one in Orange County and a third in Santa Clara County.
This comes after both Delta Air Lines and American Airlines announced Friday they will suspend all flights between the U.S. and China. Delta will halt flights through April 30, while American will suspend them through March 27.
On Wednesday, a U.S. State Department-chartered airplane carrying 195 Americans arrived at the March Air Reserve Base from Wuhan, China, the region where this new strain of coronavirus is believed to have started. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mandatory 14-day quarantine order for all 195 passengers starting from Jan. 29, when their plane left Wuhan. One of those passengers had attempted to leave the base Thursday while under a voluntary quarantine.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.MORE NEWS: La Mirada Home Decorated Like 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' Could Face Fines Over Display
The U.S. declared its own public health emergency Friday over the outbreak. Beginning Sunday, flights arriving from China will be restricted — only allowed to land at seven airports, including L.A. International Airport. All passengers arriving from the Hubei Province of China will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine after arrival.
— Greg Mills (@GregMillsTVNews) February 1, 2020