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Austin officials cancel SXSW festival due to coronavirus concerns

More than 50,000 people had signed a petition seeking to get the festival cancelled

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 16:  Lucki performs onstage at Rolling Loud during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 16, 2019 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 16: Lucki performs onstage at Rolling Loud during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 16, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW) (2019 Danny Matson)

AUSTIN, Tx. – Austin city officials have canceled the South by Southwest arts and technology festival.

Mayor Steve Adler announced a local disaster as a precaution because of the threat of the novel coronavirus, effectively cancelling the annual event.

The announcement comes days after several high-profile companies, including Netflix, tech news outlet Mashable, video-based social media platform TikTok and U.S. chip maker Intel, pulled out of the festival.

More than 50,000 people had signed a petition seeking to get the festival cancelled.

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has climbed to 14, with all but one victim in Washington state, while the number of infections swelled to over 200 scattered across at least 18 states, including at least six cases in the Houston area.