As the impact of coronavirus sweeps the globe and the World Health Organization officially declared it a pandemic, Poland, India, Lebanon and Kuwait are the latest countries to entirely or partially close cinemas.
Polish officials confirmed today that all schools, universities, cinemas, theaters and museums are to close for two weeks from Thursday to curtail the spread of the virus.
In Lebanon and Kuwait cinemas are now closed while other Middle East countries are considering the same measure with a number of wider restrictions coming into place. Saudi Arabia is understood to be closing its cinemas from tomorrow.
In India, certain states are taking preventative measures including the closure of cinemas. Kerala, which has a population of more than 35 million, has closed educational institutions and cinemas until March 31.
Cinemas are closed in markets including Italy, Czech Republic, Iran and China, where tens of thousands of theaters remain shuttered. There are partial closures in Korea, Japan and Hong Kong and some cinemas have been closed in northern France.
Distribution executives we spoke to today are scrambling to assess the impact of these latest cinema closures and are bracing for more countries to follow suit. As one international executive told us, “We have been thinking about Cannes contingencies this week, but this latest wave of closures has got us all planning even harder around dating and release schedules. All our movies are being affected.”
The number of coronavirus cases in Europe continues to rise, with more than 10,000 in Italy. Germany’s premier Angela Merkel today estimated that 60-70% of her country’s population could become infected. There are now more than 1,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. China has taken the brunt of the virus with more than 80,000 cases and 3,000 deaths.
Global entertainment events continue to be cancelled at a rapid pace. Today, Series Mania was cancelled in France. U.S. video game convention E3 was also called off.
Major soccer matches are also starting to fall by the wayside. Today, Manchester City vs Arsenal became the first EPL match to be suspended while multiple Europa League ties have also been shifted. France has postponed a domestic cup final between PSG and Lyon.
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