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For the festival, nominally held in honour of St Joseph, more than 700 neighbourhood associations spend months creating huge effigies of famous or historical figures. These are later burnt at the end of the five-day event.

Las Fallas, which were due to begin this Sunday, attract tens of thousands of visitors from Spain and abroad and it’s estimated that it’s worth around €700m to the city as it accounts for around 15% of visitors over the year. The festival of Magdalena in nearby Castellón has also been cancelled.

The news follows the cancellation of the annual World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, whose delegates were expected to spend around €500m during their four-day visit.

The list of cancellations continues to grow. The Málaga film festival, which attracts about 150,000 people to the southern city, has been called off. Málaga is the focus of coronavirus cases in Andalucía.

Meanwhile, numerous theatrical events have been cancelled and several rock bands are rescheduling their tours. However, the big question mark is Easter itself, which is celebrated with huge public events, especially in Sevilla, which no one as yet has dared to cancel.

And although tonight’s Champions League match between Liverpool and Atlético de Madrid will be played as normal, the Spanish club has advised supporters not to travel to the game.

The government has promised a series of measures such as extending credit to small businesses, a temporary moratorium on some taxes and a shorter working week and financial compensation for those with childcare responsibilities.

The Spanish hoteliers’ association has asked the government to help the sector, which faces a possibly disastrous Easter. Already, hotel reservations in Andalucía are down 20% over the Easter period and the tourism industry overall has yet to recover from the collapse of Thomas Cook last year.

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