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Red Sea International Film Festival Postponed Amid Coronavirus Scare

The first edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival has been postponed amid the Coronavirus scare. New dates will be announced later.

The festival was scheduled to start from March 12 at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and there was a lot of excitement about it. For, it was only in 2018 that the Kingdom opened up cinema and other forms of entertainment after four decades or so.

Saudi Arabia confirmed its first case of the virus on Monday. Last week the Kingdom took the remarkable step of closing its two most sacred Muslim shrines to foreign visitors and has blocked pilgrims from entering the country.

An official statement on Twitter on Tuesday read: “Following the precautionary measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and with our primary consideration being the safety and wellbeing of our guests, staff and audiences, the Red Sea International Film Festival is postponing its inaugural edition, which was scheduled to run 12-21 March, 2020 in Al-Balad, Historic Jeddah.

”To all cineastes, it’s with feelings of deep sadness that we have had to take this tough decision. The spread of coronavirus is a battle we all must face around the globe, and it’s with no hesitation that we are respecting the measures needed to meet the current health emergency.

“We are enormously grateful for your support and understanding. Rest assured, the Festival will take place at a later date as we remain committed to all filmmakers, producers, partners, and audiences. We will announce the new dates for the 2020 edition as soon as feasible, and shall ensure to keep you informed about any new developments.”

Incredible, the folly of one single country has put the rest of the world in such a distress – huge loss of human life and economic activity.

With the Cannes next on the Festival calendar in May, one is sure a lot of people must be keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the virus dies and disappears soon.