HOUSTON, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The remainder of the 2020 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was cancelled as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday declared a health emergency in the fourth largest city of the United States over COVID-19 concerns.
"This decision has not come easily, but the health and safety of the people in our region is paramount," he said in a news briefing.
Officials said a man from Montgomery County, who was identified as a presumptive positive case of coronavirus, is believed to have attended the rodeo cooking contest on Feb. 28. Officials said epidemiologists are working to retrace the patient's steps and determine whether the patient had symptoms when attending the event.
Turner said the presumptive positive case of coronavirus in Montgomery County was not related to international travel, and there was evidence of community spread in that case. That is what led to the decision to cancel the rodeo, he said.
Rodeo officials said the event had been closed since 4 p.m. local time Wednesday. The event, originally scheduled to end on March 22, generated 227 million U.S. dollars and around 3,700 jobs.
Meanwhile, three schools and districts in the Greater Houston area became the first to announce school cancellations due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.