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Friday, 29 May 2020

Egypt's cultural activities grind to a halt in wake of coronavirus restrictions

Luxor African Film Festival has cancelled its events and the Awladna International Forum of Arts for the Gifted has been postponed indefinitely

Ahram Online , Tuesday 10 Mar 2020
coronavirus
A woman wearing a protective health mask has her body temperature measured at on a touristic river boat in Egypt's southern city of Luxor on March 8, 2020 (AFP)
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Egypt's culture ministry has decided to halt all public activities after a prime ministerial decree on Monday forbidding large gatherings until further notice as a precautionary measure against the spread of the new coronavirus.

The decision has already had a major effect on Egypt’s arts scene, with a number of events cancelled or postponed.

The ninth edition of the Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) opened on Friday at Luxor Temple with dozens of Arab, African and international artists, filmmakers and critics attending its various events, but on Monday it decided to cancel all its public activities.

Most of the festival’s attendees have left Luxor, although the jury work is ongoing to determine the results of the competitions despite the cancelation of the closing ceremony.

The Awladna International Forum of Arts for the Gifted cancelled a press conference scheduled for Tuesday and has postponed its fourth edition which was due to kick off on 20 March in Cairo. It had planned to host talents and experts from 36 countries from across the globe.

Other organisers and institutions in the sector are discussing whether to cancel or re-schedule events set for April, with the ramifications for audiences, workers and the country’s artistic scene in general as yet unclear.

Egypt has confirmed 59 cases of the new coronavirus so far; many were infected on board a cruise ship in Luxor.

The viral disease emerged in China in December and has so far infected 115,000 people worldwide.

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