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Austin officials cancel South by Southwest festival

The Associated Press

Austin, Texas – 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.

FILE - In this March 13, 2019 file photo, David Byrne takes part in the "Reasons To Be Cheerful" featured session during the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas.

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.

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.