Chinese film companies, film crews, actors and actresses were ordered to stop work by the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television Production Committee and China Federation of Radio and Television Association as the tally of Coronavirus cases, and fatalities, continues to rise.
Film and TV-industry employees have the right to refuse to work during the Coronavirus outbreak and companies and crews that continue filming during this time will be held responsible for the consequences, the organizations warned in the announcement, according to the website of China Global Television Network, an English-language international service.
The giant Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis shut down operations Monday, following the Hengdian World Studios, which did the same last week. The Qingdao studio announced the closure on its official WeChat social media channel.
Seven Chinese movies originally planned for release during the Spring Festival holiday during Luna New Year last week were canceled due to the outbreak. One, Detective Chinatown 3, was set to debut on Imax screens, which, like all theaters in the country, are temporarily shuttered.
Imax has 660 screens in mainland China. A spokesman said the company’s headquarters in Shanghai closed today because of the virus and employees were working from home.
China had 17,205 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus as of Sunday, when the death toll there of 361 had passed that of the SARS epidemic in 2004. The China Health Commission also cited 475 recoveries, which it called encouraging.
Monday brought China’s stock market crashing down after a week-long closure, which occurs annually during the. Lunar New Year celebration. Shares had their first chance to react to the spreading contagion and its wide-raging impact on companies and economic growth.
The Shanghai Composite tumbled 7.7%, its worst day since 2015. Chinese authorities had pledged over the weekend to use various monetary policy tools to keep the financial system liquid and support firms impacted.
The Shenzhen Component Index, tracking China’s second, smaller stock market, fell nearly 8.5%, its steepest decline since 2007.
Film and media stocks followed the rest of the market down, with Wanda Film Holding., Huayi Brothers Media, China Film, Shanghai Film and Beijing Enlight Media all losing about 10%.
The Coronavirus could cost China’s economy $60 billion this quarter, according to estimates ad depress growth by 2.
Also Monday, China announced the opening of two giant new hospital complexes to treat victims of Coronavirus.