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Japanese shun cherry blossom viewing parties due to coronavirus

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 19, 2020 - Duration: 00:53s

Japanese shun cherry blossom viewing parties due to coronavirus

Japan's iconic cherry blossom season has bloomed in Tokyo, but this year, streets and parks were empty as people shunned "viewing parties" to stay indoors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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Japanese shun cherry blossom viewing parties due to coronavirus

Japan's Meteorological Agency declared the start of Tokyo's cherry blossom season on Saturday (March 14), 12 days earlier than average due to rising temperatures.

But the government has urged citizens to refrain from conducting viewing parties as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Japan has 868 cases as of Wednesday (March 18), according to data compiled by local governments and Japan's health ministry.

Major cherry blossoms festivals across the country were canceled, and ropes were set up beneath the trees to cordon off people from gatherings.

But parks remain open for people taking walks.

Every year, cherry blossom viewing parties known as "hanami" where people gather for a picnic beneath cherry blossoms, attract millions of visitors within Japan and from around the world.

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