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SXSW Event Cancelled, ECCC Event Postponed Due to Coronavirus

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Japanese guests cancel at Sydney's Anime Festival event this weekend; Love Live! cancels event

The official website for the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas announced on Friday that the city of Austin has cancelled the event due to concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus illness. The event was slated to host Carole & Tuesday supervising director Shinichiro Watanabe and Carole & Tuesday singers Nai Br.XX and Celeina Ann.

The event was scheduled to take place from March 13-22. The cancellation marks the first time in 34 years that the event will not take place. The organizers stated that they are "exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants."

The Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) event in Seattle also announced on Friday that it is postponing the event to this summer. The organizers of the event had stated as recently as last Sunday that the event would go on as scheduled, but "after many hours of conversation internally and consultation with local government officials and the tourism bureau," the organizers decided to postpone the event. Those who purchased tickets will automatically receive a refund in about 30 days.

Madman's Anime Festival event in Sydney, Australia announced on Wednesday that Japanese guests Yuuki Kaji, Kana Ueda, Kensuke Tateishi, Kaori Maeda, Mayu Sagara, and Luna Haruna will no longer attend the event "due to travel policies relating to the coronavirus." The event is being held on Saturday and Sunday.

The organizers of the Anime Escape Festival event in Newburgh, New York, originally scheduled for July 17-19, confirmed with ANN on Friday that the event is postponed until further notice. The organizers cited concerns of the coronavirus and "coupled with the inclement summer weather in New York" as reasons for the postponement.

Bandai Namco Entertainment also announced on Friday that it is rescheduling upcoming qualifier rounds of the Tekken World Tour 2020 and SoulCalibur World Tour 2020 events. The Norcal Regionals event in San Jose, California (scheduled for April 10) and The Mixup event in Lyon, France (scheduled for April 18) will no longer be official qualifying rounds for Tekken World Tour 2020, and the First Round event in Atlanta, Georgia (scheduled for March 20) and The Mixup will no longer be official qualifying rounds for SoulCalibur World Tour 2020.

Lastly, the official website for the Love Live! franchise announced on Wednesday that it is cancelling the "Azalea First Love Live! Amazing Travel DNA" event on March 7-8, and refunding tickets and live-viewing tickets. The franchise is instead streaming two past live events on Saturday and Sunday at noon JST (10:00 p.m. EST) each day.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said on February 27 that the government is asking elementary, junior high, and high schools to close until the end of spring break in early April to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus illness. The government is also encouraging children and others to stay home and avoid large gatherings for the next few weeks. In March, venues and events such as Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea, Universal Studios Japan, Ghibli Museum, Sanrio Puro Land, NAMJATOWN, and AnimeJapan are canceled or temporarily closed.

As of Friday, the WHO reported that Japan has 349 cases of the virus with six deaths. These numbers do not include the number of cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama. That cruise ship had 696 infected passengers and six deaths.

The first reported cases of the COVID-19 disease were in Wuhan, China in December, and then the disease began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The WHO declared a world health emergency on January 30. As of Friday, the WHO reported that there are 98,192 infected individuals worldwide, with 80,711 of them in China. 3,045 individuals have died from the disease in China. The WHO raised its global risk assessment over the virus from "high" to "very high" on February 28.

Sources: Anime Festival press release, Anime Escape Festival email correspondence, Bandai Namco Entertainment press release, SXSW's website, ECCC's website, Love Live! franchise's website (link 2) via Yaraon!

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