Severity: Warning Alert

Culture: Chingay Festival organizers cancel Feb. 14 parade in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, over SARS-CoV-2 concerns. Several other events remain.

This alert affects Johor Bahru

This alert began 13 Feb 2020 08:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Feb 2020 16:00 GMT.

  • Event: Chingay Festival
  • Location(s): Johor Bahru (map)
  • Time Frame: Through Feb. 15
  • Impact: Heightened security, traffic disruptions; possible increased petty crime, checkpoint congestion, health screenings

Summary
Organizers of the Chingay Festival have canceled the Feb. 14 parade of the deities over the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) concerns. Organizers may also cancel a related Feb. 15 procession. Other events, such as religious ceremonies, will reportedly take place through Feb. 15. Transport disruptions are likely near Johor Bahru Old Chinese and Xing Gong temples through Feb. 15 as festival attendees converge.

Authorities are bolstering security in Johor Bahru during the festival. Heightened security measures will likely include checkpoints, roadblocks, and patrols, particularly at transport hubs such as Senai International Airport (JHB) and the Johor Bahru Checkpoint, as well as event venues, shopping malls, strategic installations, and other crowded places. Increased pickpocketing and petty theft are possible in crowded areas. Increased congestion at the Johor Bahru Checkpoint could also occur. Officials may conduct increased health screenings for spectators of the festival events due to SARS-CoV-2 concerns.

Background and Analysis
Chingay Festival is an annual religious and cultural event in Johor Bahru since 1870. While this year marks the festival's milestone 150th edition, SARS-CoV-2 concerns have led organizers to reduce the size of the festivities and implement other measures.

Advice
Confirm all accommodation reservations due to high demand and possible overbooking. Consider avoiding central Johor Bahru unless participating in the festival. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and other valuables in crowded areas; carefully guard belongings at crowded places. Prepare for transport disruptions in central Johor Bahru and increased congestion at the Johor Bahru Checkpoint.

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