Now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, the coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading in Australia and will have a major impact on our arts and entertainment industry.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has this afternoon accepted the advice of Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Brendan Murphy, to limit “non-essential” mass gatherings of more than 500 people for the foreseeable future. The emergency measures, which are being instigated to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, will be enacted from Monday March 16.

Photograph courtesy of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

As a result of the new federal government advice, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has cancelled its performance of Scheherazadeon Monday March 16. “We will, however, keep the music going and will live stream this concert for free on the MSO YouTube channel,” said the orchestra in a statement on its website.

MSO performances on March 13 and 14 will continue as planned. Updates regarding performances after March 16 will be made as more information comes to hand.

The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has suspended all public performances immediately until further notice.

TSO Chief Executive Officer Caroline Sharpen said, “Whilst it is heartbreaking to cancel upcoming concerts...