‘Corona-virus’ party selling face masks cancelled after being branded tasteless
21st February 2020

A coronavirus-themed student night at a club in Sunderland – including 'cheap' Corona beer and face masks – has been slammed as "tasteless" by the leader of the city council.

The coronavirus 'awareness party' at club Independent, on Holmeside, originally slated for tonight has been arranged by 21st Century Box and is offering free masks, T-shirts and cheap Corona, as advertised on Facebook.  

While posters around the city have the Corona brand with 'virus' underneath in similar font and promises and claims the event is about "raising awareness of the Coronavirus".

The Covid-19 strain of the virus has killed more than 2,000 people on mainland China and infected over 75,000 people across the world, including nine in the UK – though eight of those have now been discharged from hospital.

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It is understood this includes the two patients in Newcastle, who are Chinese nationals.

Friday's club event has been met with criticism from Councillor Graeme Miller who told the Chronicle Live it would be "hard for someone not to take offence at it" considering the amount of suffering the disease is causing.

"It is not appropriate when the coronavirus is running rampant through China and spreading into other countries across the planet," said the councillor.

"It is in bad taste and it'll be hard for someone not to take offence at it who is suffering or knows someone suffering with coronavirus.

"The idea is tasteless and they shouldn't be doing it.

"I think someone has thought it was a clever thing to do. But it is in real poor taste. It is not what I would want to do in my bar. You would think they would have other ways to promote beer they are trying to sell."

Sam Evans, a promoter of the event, said he did want to comment, but went on to stress the party was "not meant to be distasteful".

It now appears organisers have had second thoughts after all references to the Coronavirus Awareness Party were removed from the Facebook page just hours after being contacted on Wednesday.

Mainland China had 889 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Thursday, the National Health Commission said on Friday, up from 394 cases a day earlier.

That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 75,465.

The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China reached 2,236 as of the end of Thursday, up by 118 from the previous day.

The central province of Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 115 new deaths, while in the provincial capital of Wuhan, 99 people died.

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