PORT-OF-SPAIN: The National Carnival Commission (NCC) is contemplating postponing Carnival celebrations in 2015 due to fears associated with the Ebola virus.
NCC chairman Alison Demas said the threat of an Ebola outbreak is of great concern and it could cause the postponement of the Carnival, scheduled for February 16 and 17.
“We are reminded of what happened years ago with the polio epidemic when Carnival had to be postponed,” she said. “It is a bit premature to say but clearly this is something that maybe necessary because of course we would not want Carnival to be an avenue for our population and our visitors being affected by the deadly Ebola epidemic.”
Demas said the NCC is conducting research to determine how best to respond to the virus.
“NCC is concerned about the spread of Ebola and its implications with respect to Carnival 2015,” she said. “What we have done is that we have started researching how other festivals and events are planning to cope and manage Ebola.”
She said it is important for the NCC to have “serious discussions” with the Ministry of Health, since postponing the Carnival would have to be a decision taken by the government.
Health Minister Dr. Fuad Khan has said there is no need to postpone the Carnival celebrations that brings in millions of dollars in revenue. However Dr. Khan does not rule out the possibility that this could change if the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) declare otherwise.
The government has already established a national Ebola response unit and a four-bed isolation unit has been set up at the Caura Hospital in St. Augustine.