Entertainment

Performers cancel shows in China, other Asian countries, amid coronavirus fears

Concerts and shows are being cancelled, not just in China but across much of Asia, as the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 425 people and reached more than 20 countries spooks the entertainment industry.

The National Symphony Orchestra in U.S. cancels concerts in Beijing and Shanghai

Performers such as Hong Kong singer Andy Lau, pictured at a concert in December 2018, have cancelled shows amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus. (Vincent Yu/File/The Associated Press)

Concerts and shows are being cancelled, not just in mainland China but across much of Asia, as the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 425 people and reached more than 20 countries spooks the entertainment industry.

Performances have been called off or postponed in South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao over concern that people could be infected by the virus that first appeared in the central China city of Wuhan.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Symphony Orchestra announced on Tuesday it has cancelled two concerts in Beijing and one in Shanghai next month.  The orchestra said the decision was made due to U.S. State Department travel restrictions and the cancellation of its scheduled flights.

"Between these logistical developments and the fact that our top priority is the health and well-being of our musicians and artists, it became clear to the NSO that its visit to China would not be possible," said NSO executive director Gary Ginstling.

Last week, the Boston Symphony Orchestra cancelled an Asian tour from Feb. 6-16 that had included performances in Seoul, South Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Cirque du Soleil recently announced its first and only permanent show in China has been cancelled until further notice, citing the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic has cancelled five concerts.

Cantopop veteran Andy Lau cancelled long-awaited concerts in Hong Kong, with the organizer saying it's important to protect the health and safety of the audience. It's unclear whether Lau will proceed with an April concert in Wuhan.

Popular Hong Kong singers Leon Lai and Miriam Yeung also postponed their February concerts in Macao and Singapore, respectively.

Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai postponed her show in China, according to her official account on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.

South Korean agencies have been cancelling K-pop events at home and abroad in response to requests from fans about artists' safety.

Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai, seen in June 2019 at Golden Melody Awards in Taipei, Taiwan, has postponed her show in China, according to her official account on Weibo. (Billy Dai/File/The Associated Press)

Popular K-pop artists such as Taeyeon and boybands WINNER and NCT Dream cancelled shows in Singapore and Macao, according to their agency and concert organizer. K-pop band GOT7 postponed concerts in Bangkok and Singapore. A fan showcase by GFriend is taking place without an audience due to virus fears.

The ripple effects of the virus have been hitting the arts industry hard in Asia, especially in Hong Kong. The city, which promotes itself as an international cultural hub and gateway to China, now faces cancellation of multiple events, wreaking further havoc on an economy already crippled by prolonged anti-government protests that started last summer.

Art Basel Hong Kong, one of Asia's most prestigious art fairs, is considering whether to go forward with the annual event in March.

"We share the concerns expressed to us by you, our gallerists and partners," the organizers said in a Jan. 30 letter to exhibitors. "This is a challenging time for all of us. Our team is working hard to review all possible options."

With files from CBC News and Reuters

now