SXSW submits to coronavirus fears as Austin cancels 2020 tech festival

SXSW submits to coronavirus fears as Austin cancels 2020 tech festival

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The 2020 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas has been canceled due to concerns over Covid-19 coronavirus. Meanwhile, a major convention in Washington state, where most US deaths have occurred, has merely been postponed.

Austin city officials ordered the festival canceled, SXSW said in a statement on Friday, adding that they were now “working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.”

As late as Wednesday, city authorities were saying there was no evidence that canceling the festival would help make the public safer, but the situation “evolved rapidly,” SXSW said, without elaborating. Officially, there have been no cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Austin or Travis County.

The technology conference was scheduled to run from March 13-22. This is the first time in 34 years that it was canceled. It is the largest annual economic event for Austin, the largest US tech hub outside of Silicon Valley.

Fears of Covid-19 have already prompted a number of big tech companies to bow out of SXSW, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Netflix and Twitter, whose CEO Jack Dorsey was supposed to give a keynote speech before changing his mind.

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