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Cannes Film Festival postponed amid coronavirus

Organizers are looking at dates in June or July for the high-profile event, assuming the virus has been contained by then.

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The Cannes Film Festival, held in the south of France each year, has become the latest event to be postponed because of COVID-19.

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The Cannes Film Festival has become the latest event to get pushed back because of the novel coronavirus

The high-profile event, held each year in the south of France, was slated to take place May 12 to 23. But on Thursday, the film festival's organizers said the confab wouldn't take place as planned. They're considering their options to keep the festival going, including postponing till the end of June or the beginning of July. 

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"As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known, in accordance with our ongoing consultation with the French government and Cannes' City Hall as well as with the Festival's board members, film industry professionals and all the partners of the event," the Cannes Film Festival organizers said in an online post

The decision comes as France and many other countries and cities around the globe are locked down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It's been linked to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include SARS and MERS, and the World Health Organization has labeled COVID-19 a pandemic. France has been one of the European countries hit hardest by the coronavirus. 

The crisis has caused schools to close, while other closures have swept across the country, from Broadway theaters to NBA venues. Starting Tuesday, the San Francisco Bay Area was put on lockdown, with citizens ordered to stay at home except for essential outings. Other cultural events, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, have also faced postponements and cancellations.  

Cannes is one of the world's most high-profile movie industry events. Numerous films have debuted and screened at the festival, including Oscar winner Parasite and Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The festival, which started in 1946 after the end of World War II, has never been put off before, according to Variety, which earlier reported the news of the postponement. It was canceled once, in 1968, because of student riots in France, the publication said.