The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 has been cancelled amid the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The world-famous music competition, which had been due to take place in Rotterdam from Tuesday 12 May to Saturday 16 May, will not be held in 2020, organisers announced on Wednesday (18 March).
"It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam", a statement read.
"Over the past few weeks we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead.
"However, the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe - and the restrictions put in place by the governments of participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities - means the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned."
Organisers added that they would continue to have "a conversation" about the possibility of Eurovision being held in Rotterdam in 2021, and that further details would be announced in due course.
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) March 18, 2020
"We would ask people to bear with us while we work throuhg the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently away further news in the coming days and weeks", they said.
The statement added: "We... know that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time."
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has been closely monitoring the situation concerning the spread of the coronavirus, considering the latest advice and guidelines from the WHO and national health authorities.
— Jon Ola Sand (@jonolasand) March 18, 2020
They have been working closely with Dutch Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam to explore different potential scenarios for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.
Sources close to the Reference Group, a body which acts as an overseeing body to the festival, told the Eurovision blog Wiwibloggs that least three options were under discussion.
They were deciding between holding an online-only show with no audience; delaying the show to the end of summer; delaying the show to May 2021 with Rotterdam as the host city.
Many have already taken to social media to question why the online-only show can't go ahead. But the festival requires numerous production staff, even if entries were filmed remotely. The BBC and Sky News in the UK took steps to
Until just three days ago, [March 13] the EBU had said it was "still too early to make any final decisions."
They added: "With this in mind, we're continuing to work together as a team on preparations to host the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam."
The UK Entry James Newman had urged everyone to be "to be responsible, we’ll just see what happens," to Metro.
The news will come to the dismay of many in the LGBTQ community, who find the festival a global gathering that celebrates campness, otherness and brings local LGBTQ communities together at parties and in bars.
Meanwhile, as the world continues to battle the spread of COVID-19, many upcoming Pride events have been cancelled or postponed. For a full list of updates click here.
This is a developing story, and we will update as it is announced.