Coronavirus gores Pamplona bull-run

The San Fermin festival dates back to medieval times and was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.” (Reuters file photo)
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Updated 21 April 2020

Coronavirus gores Pamplona bull-run

  • Hundreds of thousands of people typically attend the centuries-old San Fermin celebration
  • Pamplona’s municipal council decided to call off the event, held each year between July 6 and 14

MADRID: Spain’s best-known bull running festival in the northern town of Pamplona has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Pamplona city hall said Tuesday.
Hundreds of thousands of people typically attend the centuries-old San Fermin celebration, which sees half-ton fighting bulls chase hundreds of daredevils, many wearing traditional white shirts and scarves, though the narrow streets of the city each morning.
Pamplona’s municipal council decided to call off the event, held each year between July 6 and 14, because “the fight against COVID-19 has become a global priority and there is no other possible option for such massive festivities,” a statement said.
People flock to the city from all over the world to test their bravery and enjoy the festival’s mix of round-the-clock parties, religious processions and concerts.
Sixteen people have been killed in the bull runs since officials began keeping track in 1910.
The last death was in 2009 when a 27-year-old Spaniard was gored in the neck, heart and lungs.
The San Fermin festival dates back to medieval times and was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.”
COVID-19 has killed almost 21,300 people so far in Spain, the third-highest official toll after the United States and Italy.
The pandemic has also forced the suspension or postponement of major events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Coachella music festival in southern California, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.


Silent but cheerful, mannequins enforce social distancing at Tokyo bar

Updated 40 min 30 sec ago

Silent but cheerful, mannequins enforce social distancing at Tokyo bar

  • Tokyo recently began to ease restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

TOKYO: They may not be helping out with chants but complete with cheerleader uniforms and pom-poms, mannequins at one Tokyo bar are helping keep customers a safe — and cheerful — distance apart.
Tokyo recently began to ease restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a respite for bars and restaurants dependent on the city’s normally thriving nightlife even if customers are not yet back in full force.
“Our restaurant looked very empty and we wanted to add more excitement,” said Arata Funabara, owner of Cheers One, a cheerleading-themed bar in the capital’s upscale Ginza district which counts both women and men among its clientele.
Other safety measures include face shields and gloves for the bar’s cheerleader waitresses who perform karaoke songs on request. The shields and gloves are also on offer for patrons.
Waitress Chinatsu Fujii said the mannequins made for a safer work environment.
“It takes a bit of getting used to but it’s reassuring that they are here and I think of them of workmates,” she said.
Japan has recorded some 17,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 900 deaths.