Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas market off due to pandemic

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Image caption, The market attracts about five million visitors a year, Birmingham City Council said

Birmingham's annual German Christmas market will not be held this year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organiser Frankfurt City Council said it had explored all possible options over the market, which opened initially as a one-off event in 1997.

Its director of festivals and events, Kurt Stroscher, said: "Christmas markets like this are a place for socialising and 'cosy closeness'."

He said he did not want the market to be a place that "promotes" a pandemic.

The market will not take place for the first time since 2001, but Frankfurt council said visitors' health and safety had to be its "top priority" and the decision had been made "with a very heavy heart".

All possible options had been "carefully explored", Mr Stroscher stated.

He added Frankfurt council would now concentrate all its efforts on 2021 "in order to return with an impressive Christmas market in its recognisable form".

The market attracts about five million visitors a year.

Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward said he welcomed "the organiser's decision to put the public's health and safety first".

Birmingham has been on the government coronavirus watchlist recently and new rules about households mixing could be brought in.

There were 77.1 cases per 100,000 city residents in the week to 6 September, compared with 31.2 the week before.

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