Chingay festival held on smaller scale due to COVID-19

JOHOR BAHRU (Feb 15): The annual Chingay festival here was held on smaller scale yesterday in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Checks by Bernama found devotees thronging the Xing Gong temple in Jalan Ulu Ayer Molek here as early as 3pm. The temple is the first location for the procession of five deities of the religious event.

The Tiong Hua Federation, which is the organiser of the festival, was also seen taking added precautions by stationing health staff to monitor body temperature of each visitor to the temple.

Face masks and hand sanitisers were also distributed to visitors and members of the public witnessing the festival.

The two-hour procession from 7pm over 8km around the city this time only comprised five floats as compared to 17 last year.

Entering its 150th year this year, the festival marks the solidarity of five Chinese dialect groups, namely the Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, Guangsiew and Hainan.

Prior to this, the Johor state government had advised organisers of major events to postpone or hold them on a smaller scale due to the new coronavirus problem, which originated in China but has since spread across the globe.

Malaysia has recorded 19 cases of COVID-19 to date, while 67 cases have been reported in Singapore which is just across the causeway from Johor.

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