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The calendar for March, April and May was jam-packed with band launches for this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, scheduled to be held on the August bank holiday Sunday 30 and Monday 31 August.
However, coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused all these band launches to be either postponed or cancelled.
It is uncertain whether any of these band launches will go ahead, or even if there will be a Notting Hill Carnival this year. At the time of writing, the organisers were confident that London’s huge celebration of Caribbean culture would go ahead, but many in the community are expressing doubt.
In late March, medical experts were suggesting that the coronavirus crisis in the UK will last for at least three, but more probably four, months, based on the experience of China and previous outbreaks of infectious diseases such as SARS, MERS, bird flu and swine flu. This would give, at best, two months for organisers, bands etc to prepare before the bank holiday.
The problem is that even if one country comes clear of the virus, it will still be active elsewhere, so for at least a year every visitor from overseas will present a potential risk of restarting the infection cycle. The economic and social aftershock of the prolonged shutdown, plus the strain on medical, police and emergency services staffs, mean that the authorities will probably be very reluctant to sanction the event this year.