Coronavirus pandemic puts paid to Anzac Day plans

Sydney's Anzac Day march will return in 2021, after lockdown put paid to it last year.

Sydney's Anzac Day march will return in 2021, after lockdown put paid to it last year.

Anzac Day services have been cancelled in NSW, Western Australia and Tasmania after the federal government banned mass gatherings in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Dawn services have also been cancelled in Victoria, with only one private service to be held at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Returned and Services League of Australia WA chief executive John McCourt told ABC radio on Monday plans were underway for some sort of commemoration for April 25 using social media and live streaming.

RSL-held services and subsequent marches have been called off in Tasmania.

“It was a tough decision because a lot of the sub-branches would have been organising these events from February onwards,” State President Robert Dick said.

“A lot of preparation work has already been done. But I emphasise the fact that public safety and wellbeing is more important.”

Mr Dick said many older veterans fell into the group most at-risk from coronavirus.

“The consequences could be devastating and we don’t want to put people in that position,” he said.

“We’re asking people in their own private way to pay respects to our serving and ex-service members.

“Even if it’s like on Remembrance Day, where you take a moment around 11 o’clock to pause and reflect on those who have gone before.”

Late on Monday afternoon, the NSW also cancelled all public Anzac Day commemorations across the state.

“The risk to vulnerable people during the current health situation is simply too high,” it said.

RSL Victoria also said it would bar the public from its April 25 events, allowing in only a small number of official guests to attend, to minimise the COVID-19 risk.

The traditional ANZAC Day march through Melbourne’s CBD and midday service at the Shrine of Remembrance have also been cancelled.

The WA government declared a state of emergency on Sunday, warning those who breach the 14-day self-isolation ban after returning from overseas will be fined up to $50,000.

Victoria and the ACT followed their own declarations on Monday.

-with AAP

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