Tool fans ‘may have been exposed to coronavirus’ at show

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Tool played two nights at New Zealand’s largest arena last weekend

Fans who watched US band Tool in New Zealand last week have been warned they may have been exposed to coronavirus.

A man in his 30s, who attended the gig in Auckland’s Spark Arena, has been confirmed as the nation’s fourth case of the virus.

“He was in the general admission standing area in the front left-hand quadrant,” said health officials.

They added the risk of catching the virus was “low” but advised audience members to be aware of the symptoms.

The man, who had recently arrived back in the country from northern Italy, has been isolated at home since Wednesday. His partner was announced as New Zealand’s second case earlier this week.

At present, it is not known how Covid-19 spreads from person to person, but similar viruses do so via droplets, such as those produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The current NHS advice is to avoid “close contact” with anyone who has the virus. Example of close contact include living in the same house, being coughed on and being within two metres of the person for more than 15 minutes.

New Zealand’s director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said fans in the vicinity of the man at the Tool concert were considered “casual contacts”.

“They are at low risk and the appropriate action for them is to just be aware of the symptoms [and] call healthline if they are concerned or if they have any symptoms,” he said.

Concerts cancelled

Concerns about coronavirus are disrupting the whole entertainment industry, with the release of the new James Bond film postponed until November, and the International Indian Film Academy Awards, known as Bollywood’s Oscars, called off.

Artists including BTS, Mariah Carey, Mabel, Khalid, Pixies, Foals Green Day and Stormzy have also delayed or cancelled concerts, with dates in Asia particularly affected.

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Brit Award-winner Mabel had to postpone shows in Italy over the coronavirus

Representatives of the EBU, which organises the Eurovision Song Contest, have said they will be unable to attend a meeting of the 41 participating countries next week after a staff member tested positive for the virus.

While the contest itself is not currently in jeopardy, the EBU says it will “monitor the situation and assess the potential of the impact of coronavirus on its events”.

Meanwhile, Universal Music has advised its employees not to attend the upcoming South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas – which is one of the industry’s key showcases for new talent.

Sony and Warner Music have both instituted similar bans, according to Variety magazine.

Artists playing the festival are not affected, although scheduled appearances by Trent Reznor and the Beastie Boys have been cancelled after the companies promoting the films they were connected to pulled out.

Laura Jane Grace, frontwoman of the punk band Against Me! said artists weren’t always in control of whether or not shows would go ahead.

“All the bands cancelling shows because of coronavirus are doing so because their insurance companies updated their policies to not cover cancellations due to the virus,” she wrote on Twitter.

“I know because ours did the same.”

While the full impact of the coronavirus outbreak is still unclear, analysts say the movie and film industries could each lose $5 billion (£3.85m) if cancellations extend further into 2020.

‘Keep calm’

Currently, the UK’s live ministry has been largely unaffected. However, the government does have the power to cancel sports, music and other events if it believes a big crowd could pose a risk to public health.

The Association of Independent Music urged fans to keep attending shows until government advice changed.

“It’s important not to underplay the risks of Covid-19, nor minimise the tragedy for people affected,” said Aim’s CEO Paul Pacifico, “but we must not lose sight of the current public health advice, which is to ‘keep calm and carry on’.

“Severe reactions to the situation feed the whirlwind of escalating concern, which can have a damaging knock-on effect for smaller companies.

“We must avoid escalation until experts deem it necessary.”

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