Chinese New Year Celebrations Underway Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

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The coronavirus is causing quite a scare in China but in the Bay Area, plans are still underway for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

At SFO, flights to and from Wuhan, China were canceled Thursday and though a Bay Area response team was formed to address the growing health concern, in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the mood is still very upbeat to celebrate the year of the rat.

Chinese New Year’s parade director Harlan Wong said he’s not stressed about the coronavirus. He had more stress trying to clear stuffed animal rats from China through customs.

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated Saturday the 8 and Harlan expects a huge turnout as always.

“Hundreds of thousands of people,” he said.

About 150 people are needed just to operate the 228-foot dragon and a ballet group from China will be a highlight.

At SFO, Centers for Disease Control health tests will continue for passengers arriving on specific flights from China and a local task force will keep track.

“Folks traveling from airport made sense to share info and do that this time,” said Neetu Balram from Bay Area Health Officers.

At restaurant China Live, a big New Year’s celebration is planned for Friday night. They’re not worried about a drop in tourism or health concerns.

“We’re a local favorite, moving forward, celebrating year of rat,” said Doug Collister.

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