09:17 GMT09 April 2020
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    Austin city leaders on Friday announced that the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival scheduled between March 13 and 21 has been canceled over COVID-19 fears.

    The annual festival is a conglomeration of film, interactive media, conferences and music festivals that take place in Austin, Texas.

    Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced the decision to cancel the event.

    ​During the press conference, Adler announced that "based on the recommendation of our public health officer and director of public health, and after consultation with the city manager, I’ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city, and associated with that, have issued an order that effectively cancels SXSW.”

    The SXSW website acknowledged the cancellation on Friday.

    "We are devastated to share this news with you. 'The show must go on' is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation," the update reads.

    The event planners also revealed that they are "exploring options" to reschedule the event and potentially provide a "virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants."

    The festival's cancellation comes after several celebrities announced that they would not attend the event over coronavirus fears. Singer Ozzy Osbourne and representatives from companies such as Apple, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Amazon Studios, Intel, Mashable and Vevo all said they would not participate in the festival this year due to the coronavirus even though there are currently no known cases of COVD-19 in Travis County, where the event was scheduled to take place.

    An online petition on Change.org to cancel the festival was signed by more than 55,000 people.

    So far, there are at least 260 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US. There are 15 coronavirus-related deaths in the US, with 14 of the deaths occurring in Washington state and one in California.

    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (445)


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