The flower lovers living in Japan will have to wait for next year to tip-toe through the tulips as a park razed over 100,000 stems to work along with the social distancing rules in the effort to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus or COVID-19.
The officials in the city of Sakura which is 50 km east of Tokyo razed down the tulip beds at the Sakura Furusato Hiroba while cancelling the annual tulip festival to discourage people from gathering after the coronavirus emergency got announced last week.
Tulips cut down to keep away people during Coronavirus crisis
"Many visitors came on the weekend when the flowers were in full bloom. It became a mass gathering so we had no choice but to make the decision to cut the flowers," said Sakiho Kusano, a city tourism official. Japan's tally of coronavirus infections stood at 11,500 on Wednesday.
Despite the absence of the pink and red flowers that usually carpet the 7,000-square-metre tulip gardens at this time of year, the park is drawing a smattering of visitors. "It's very, very, very unfortunate. My mood sank when I saw this," 77-year-old visitor Misako Yonekubo said on Wednesday. The cut flowers were donated to kindergartens.
(With agency inputs)