When the world is in the grip of a pandemic, the last place you want to go and sit is in the middle row of the biggest, most packed auditorium at your local multiplex. This, you might think, is the optimum breeding ground for any self-respecting disease. Germs will be bouncing around in the foyer, through the air conditioning, off the popcorn tubs and into the fabric of the seats themselves. Every cough or splutter of another spectator will provoke mini paroxysms of anxiety.
It is little surprise, therefore, that, according to trade paper Variety, 70,0000 cinemas in China are currently closed amid reports of coronavirus infections all over the world. The planned Beijing leg of the publicity tour for the new James Bond film No Time to Diehas already been cancelled, well in advance of the films April release. Hong Kong Filmart, one of the most important film industry events for bringing Asian and western producers and distributors together, has been postponed from its usual March date until August.
As the coronavirus continues to spread, this weeks Berlin Film Festival is carrying on but festival guests are all being given comprehensive information about procedures to follow if cases do occur and just how to find their way to the Berlin Institute for Virology.
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