Multiple Grammy award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo have suspended their US tour which was scheduled to end next Monday. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
Multiple Grammy award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo have suspended their US tour which was scheduled to end next Monday. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Huge sporting events and festivals cancelled worldwide over Covid-19 fears

By MPILETSO MOTUMI Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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As the Covid-19  continues to spread across the globe, safety measures are in place and large gatherings cancelled to prevent further risk.

Countless events are being cancelled - from some of the biggest concerts in the world to smaller, local events, any event that requires travel and congregation is being postponed.

On Sunday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases updated the official number of positive Covid-19 cases to 61 in the country.

Over the past two weeks, events across the globe - including California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - have cancelled their shows.

While summits and expos are continuing, larger gatherings are not taking place this year.

Multiple Grammy award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo has suspended their US tour which was scheduled to end next Monday. They are now due to return on Thursday.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival on Friday announced its postponement. The festival was set to take place on March 27 and 28.

“In light of growing concerns around the spread of coronavirus, espAfrika, a member of Sekunjalo Group, regrets to inform the public that this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be postponed for the foreseeable future, as a public health precautionary measure.

“This has been a difficult decision and one we have not made lightly. As a flagship event for South Africa with more than 40000 local and international festival goers expected, we are committed to acting in the best interests of our loyal festinos, performing artists, service providers, employees and the public at large,” said festival director Billy Domingo.

Another major event to be cancelled due to the increasing spread of the virus in Southern Africa is the MTN Bushfire on May 28 to 31.

“As a socially conscious and conscientious festival, MTN Bushfire prioritises the health, safety and security of the eSwatini community, the festival staff and guests. MTN Bushfire believes this is the responsible decision to make in recognition of these extraordinary circumstances,” the company said.

Festival tickets and camping passes that have already been purchased will still be valid in 2021. The festival has also entered into negotiations with all other travel and accommodation partners to ensure that bookings can be deferred to the 2021 festival dates. Festival goers are encouraged to call their relevant travel and accommodation providers to make these arrangements.

Other events, including the much-anticipated Formula 1 Joburg Festival due to take place on March 29, has also been postponed.

Sponsors of the event said they remained committed to bringing the F1 back to South Africa and any decision on a rescheduling would be made at the right time for public safety.

Ellie Norman, director of marketing and communications, said: “Following the announcement from the World Health Organisation categorising Covid-19 as a pandemic last week, we decided to postpone the festival.

“Our fans’ health and safety is paramount and while we know this decision will be disappointing for our fans, we believe this is the right decision at this time.

“We thank all our partners and those involved in making the event happen, and we are fully committed to bringing the excitement of F1 back to South Africa.”

The young festival - VIVOnation - which attracts the youth to celebrate local talent, has also decided to postpone their two-day event next month.

VIVOnation 2020 is now scheduled to take place later this year, with the dates to be announced. All tickets remain valid for the new dates.

Comedian Trevor Noah has also postponed all his tour dates for next month.

“By reducing large gatherings, we can help flatten the curve of any possible outbreaks to keep it manageable within our communities” he said.

Huge sporting events like the Absa Cape Epic and Two Oceans Marathon have also been cancelled. Worldwide, major sporting events, conferences, championships and festivals have been postponed.

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