March 14, 2020 / 12:30 AM / 21 days ago

New Zealand calls off Christchurch attack commemoration amid coronavirus fears

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a news conference prior to the anniversary of the mosque attacks that took place the prior year in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Martin Hunter

CHIRSTCHURCH (Reuters) - New Zealand on Saturday called off a national remembrance service marking the one-year anniversary of the attack on Christchurch mosques due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The event, to be held in Christchurch on Sunday, was expected to attract a large crowd, with many traveling from around New Zealand and from overseas.

“This is a pragmatic decision. We’re very saddened to cancel, but in remembering such a terrible tragedy, we shouldn’t create the risk of further harm being done,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

New Zealand confirmed its sixth case of COVID-19 on Saturday.

Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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