Phagwaa fun at Palmiste Par,k San Fernando, last year.

Phagwa celebrations across the country have been cancelled in light of confirmation yesterday that Trinidad and Tobago has its first COVID-19 case.

Less than an hour after Health Minister, Terrence Deyalsingh, made the announcement, several notices were sent out advising that the popular Hindu festival will no longer be celebrated.

The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha board was one such organization to take this decision.

According to its notice, Phagwa celebrations at all of its schools will no longer be held.

However, the board noted that there will be normal school tomorrow.

Also heeding the Health Minister’s advice to reconsider mass-gatherings was the Couva Mandir.

In a statement, it advised that its Phagwa celebrations carded for Sunday has been cancelled.

Referred to as “The Festival of Colour,” a colourful liquid (abeer) and powder is smeared on people in celebration of Spring.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism in Jamaica yesterday advise that all previously advertised activities for March have been postponed until further notice.

This decision is in keeping with the new COVID-19 health protocols, regarding public gatherings declared by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, at an emergency press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday evening.

The Prime Minister also asked that organisers of business meetings and large gatherings follow the protocols that have been established for personal care and hygiene.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett added, “We must err on the side of caution in light of the new COVID-19 developments in the country. I have had several meetings with my team about these upcoming events and believe it is in the best interest of the public as well as the staff of the Ministry to postpone these events until it is safer to do so.”

The Ministry said it will continue to monitor the situation and be guided by the protocols for the public health and safety outlined by the Office of the Prime Minister.