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The Beijing International Film Festival, originally scheduled for late April, will be postponed to an unknown future date due to the coronavirus epidemic, organizers have said.

The government-backed event was supposed to have taken place April 19-26. It has been postponed “in order to cope with the overall situation of prevention of the novel coronavirus epidemic, and out of consideration for the safety and health of the festival’s guests, fans, media, partners and public,” organizers said in a statement posted to their official social media channels Friday.

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the postponement of the event and we will announce the possible date of the festival as soon as possible,” they added.

The postponement was long expected, as the country’s cinemas have remained almost entirely shuttered since late January, with no end to the closures in sight, though some predict things may pick up again in May. 

In mid-February, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which was set to take place in late March, also announced its decision to postpone. The festival, along with the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum and the FilMart trade show, have all been postponed until August 27-29.

China has reported 80,735 confirmed coronavirus cases and 3,119 deaths as of March 8.

The country’s other major film festival, the Shanghai International Film Festival, is set to take place in June.

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