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Coronavirus derails Hanover council’s trip to China

Published:Thursday | February 20, 2020 | 12:11 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer


The on-and-off plan by officials of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) to visit Huangshi city in China is officially off again.

This time, it has fallen prey to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives in China since its emergence last December.

The trip, which was originally slated to take place in October 2018 and has been rescheduled at least thrice, seemed set to go ahead before the end of the current financial year when the HMC announced that subject to the approval of the Ministry of Local Government, the visit would take place in March.

However, with COVID-19 now a global threat and China the epicentre of the deadly virus, David Gardner, the chief executive officer of the HMC, told last Thursday’s monthly meeting of the corporation that the councillors would observe the travel ban to the Asian nation.

The planned trip to China had its genesis in the discussions between the Chinese and HMC officials to twin Huangshi City with Lucea, the Hanover capital. On July 22, 2019, a Friendly Cooperative Cities Agreement was signed between the HMC and representatives from the Huangshi People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China here in Jamaica.

Besides making two visits to Lucea since the beginning of the talks, Huangshi officials wrote to the HMC in January, giving some suggested dates for the visit by the HMC delegation.