The preview of a major new art exhibition in Bristol has been cancelled as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise across the country.
The opening of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and the Artists of St Ives was due to be held at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) on Friday (March 13).
The new touring exhibition is based on the European travels of prominent 20th century British artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.
It was reported last week that a case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Bristol , with several more cases across the South West.
With cases on the rise in the UK and worldwide, the decision has been taken by RWA to cancel Friday’s preview event.
A spokeswoman said: “We have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel this Friday’s Preview.
“This has been done out of concern for all our guests, staff and volunteers, as we are aware that many are either classified as or care for vulnerable individuals, and in addition to the issues of crowds of people, the serving and cleaning up of drinks was identified as a potential hazard.
“We are also aware that there are a number of people intending to travel significant distances to come to the preview, including from Scotland and Cornwall, so wanted to make a decision sooner rather than later, to ensure that plans can be rearranged in good time.”
She added the building would be open as usual despite the cancellation.
“Having put mitigation measures in place to protect everyone as far as possible, we do not feel that our normal day-to-day operation currently needs to be affected unless and until there is any major change to general health advice,” she said.
“We intend to continue to open the building as usual, and hope that less crowded, un-catered events, such as the curator’s tour and the Inspirational Journeys talk on Saturday 14 March, should be able to take place as planned.”
The outbreak has caused a number of other events to be cancelled or postponed including a cycling exhibition in Bristol originally due to be held in May.
Want Bristol news straight to your inbox?
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Symptoms include fever and cough that can progress to severe pneumonia. This can cause shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
The virus causes more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
How can I prevent it?
In most cases, Covid-19 is mild but everyone should carry on with good washing of hands and related personal hygiene measures, which include:
- Giving your hands a good wash with soap and water is the most effective action you can take (but hand gels can be a good substitute).
- Maintaining personal hygiene when coughing or sneezing is also important – use a tissue rather your hands and then throw it away.
- It is good general practice to use cleaning wipes to give your keyboard, desk, phone etc. the once over on a regular basis.
If someone is feeling unwell and has the symptoms set out on the public health website they should not go to their doctors or a hospital. They should ring 111 to get further advice.