Mosque attack memorial service called off due to Covid-19 coronavirus concerns

1:11 pm on 14 March 2020

Tomorrow's mosque attack national memorial service at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch has been called off, due to Covid-19 coronavirus concerns.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media on the commemorations of the Christchurch mosque attacks and the Covid-19 outbreak, 13 March 2020.

Jacinda Ardern said the decision to cancel was a pragmatic one. Photo: RNZ

A statement released about 1pm said the event, to be held at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch at 3pm tomorrow, was expected to attract a large crowd, with many travelling from around New Zealand and from overseas.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while there was no community transmission of Covid-19 in New Zealand, a precautionary approach to protect the health of all New Zealanders was being taken.

"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.

"The advice we received for this event, is that based on people travelling from different parts of the country and from overseas, if there was a case it could be difficult to trace those who had come into contact with that person, so we are taking a cautious approach.

"March 15 now becomes an opportunity for every New Zealander to reflect in their own way on the events of a year ago. I encourage everyone to take time on Sunday to remember and to recommit to the values of inclusion and love demonstrated so clearly a year ago."

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the decision was made to cancel the event given the rapidly changing environment around Covid-19.

"Tomorrow, we can still reflect on the incredible ways the community came together in response to the events of that tragic day, and think of ways that we can build on the compassion and unity that was so poignantly shown in our city, across the country and throughout the world."

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