Cannes Film Festival postponed as coronavirus sweeps France

The festival was due to take place from 12 to 23 May, but may now take place at the end of June.

The 2020 Cannes Film Festival has been postponed due to the continuing spread of coronavirus across France.

The prestigious event was scheduled to be held in the city on the French Riviera from 12 to 23 May, but organisers confirmed on Thursday that they are now looking at holding the festival later this year after the Covid-19 pandemic has peaked.

More than 246,000 have been infected with the virus around the world since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December, and over 10,000 people have died.

In France alone, there are almost 11,000 cases of Covid-19, with 372 fatalities, and on Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron ordered a 15-day lockdown across the country to try and contain the outbreak.

"At this time of global health crisis, our thoughts go to the victims of the Covid-19 and we express our solidarity with all of those who are fighting the disease," festival executives said in a statement, noting that their decision was made in light of the strict lockdown.

They are reportedly considering several options, according to editors at Variety, including holding the festival at the end of June.

However, organisers insisted they will be regularly assessing the "French and international health situation" in the coming weeks and will make a further announcement about the future of this year's festival in due course.

"In the meantime, the Festival de Cannes lends its vocal support to all of those who firmly call on everyone to respect the general lockdown, and ask to show solidarity in these difficult times for the entire world," the statement concluded.

Just last week, festival president Pierre Lescure had said he was "reasonably optimistic" the 2020 event would go ahead, after suggesting the coronavirus pandemic would peak "at the end of March and that we will breathe a little better in April".

The Cannes Film Festival press conference, which was originally scheduled for 16 April, has also been delayed.

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