The annual Da Nang International Fireworks Festival (DIFF), held in the namesake central Vietnamese city, will not take place this year due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, local authorities have announced.
The Culture and Sports Department of Da Nang said in a letter sent to the press on Thursday the city would not be organizing the 2020 DIFF following a decision made by the municipal administration.
The competition, held annually in Da Nang since 2008, features teams from around the world who compete by putting on fireworks shows to background music.
It was set to reach its 11th edition this year.
Ha Vy, deputy director of the municipal Culture and Sports Department, said the fireworks festival has been integral to enriching the cultural life of local citizens, promoting tourism, and building up the city’s image.
Although preparation for the 2020 competition was already underway, the administration of Da Nang has decided to cancel this year’s event entirely over COVID-19 concerns, Vy said.
The epidemic is developing unpredictably, while the supply of materials for organizing the festival has also been affected by restrictions of movement between Vietnam and China, he added.
Organizing such an international event would also means attracting a large crowd of people to one place, which is not advised given the possibility of the virus spreading from close contact, the official said.
Last year, Team JoHo Pyro Professional Fireworks AB from Finland was crowned the winner and awarded the trophy together with a US$10,000 cash prize.
The novel coronavirus disease, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO), has killed 2,247 people and infected over 76,700 globally since it first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, according to the South China Morning Post.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 16 cases of the viral infection, including 13 Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese. None of them were in Da Nang.
Among the patients, 15 have been discharged from the hospital after making a full recovery.
The country has recorded no new infection since Thursday last week.