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The annual International Journalism Festival, which was to be held in Perugia, Italy, has been cancelled because of Coronavirus fears.

Italy has seen increasing numbers of people infected with the COVID-19 strain of Coronavirus, and is the subject of travel restrictions imposed by a number of countries.

As a result of those public health concerns, organisers took the decision to cancel the festival in full, as opposed to mearly postponing it.

In a statement, organisers of the events said; “We announce the cancellation of the 2020 International Journalism Festival due to the public health risks caused by COVID-19. We know that this decision will cause inconvenience for many and have negative financial consequences for some but we believe it would be irresponsible to act in any other way given current circumstances.

“The health and safety of festival speakers, attendees, volunteers, staff, suppliers as well as that of the citizens of Perugia is and must remain our top priority.

“We make this announcement today, one month before the start of the festival, because we are convinced that the entire festival community will benefit from an end to the uncertainty. Please note that the festival is being cancelled, not postponed.

“The scenario has changed significantly over the past two or three days. Until the middle of this week we were cautiously optimistic that the festival would go ahead as planned. The rapidly deteriorating public health situation has obliged us to take the decision to cancel.

“We hope all those who were intending to participate in the 2020 festival will be able to come to Perugia for the 2021 festival.

“This cancellation rips up all the preparation put in over the past 6 months or so by a wide range of people. To all the organisers/moderators who put together their sessions, to all the speakers and attendees and volunteers who had organised themselves to come to Perugia, to all the suppliers who have been gearing up for the event, to all our supporters who have allowed the festival to flourish, we can only thank you and empathise as the consequences of this announcement sink in. This is a sad day for the festival but we hope to return even stronger and more united for the 2021 festival and beyond.”

The next festival will take place in Perugia from 14 to 18 April 2021.