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Tom Hanks, wife Rita Wilson test positive for coronavirus

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ACTORS Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson arrive at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 19. — REUTERS

LOS ANGELES — Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, have both tested positive for coronavirus in Australia, the actor said on Twitter.

“To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus and were found to be positive,” Hanks said in the tweet.

The film star said that he and Wilson would be “tested, observed and isolated” for as long as required.

The couple are the first major US celebrities known to have contracted COVID-19. The coronavirus has infected more than 1,000 people in the United States.

“Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We’ll keep the world posted and updated,” Hanks tweeted.

Hanks had traveled to Australia to begin filming an upcoming movie about Elvis Presley. He is set to play Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in the Warner Bros. production.

“We have been made aware that a company member from our Elvis feature film, which is currently in pre-production in The Gold Coast, Australia, has tested positive for COVID-19,” Warner Bros. said in a statement, without naming the person.

“We are working closely with the appropriate Australian health agencies to identify and contact anyone who may have come in direct contact with the individual.

“The health and safety of our company members is always our top priority, and we are taking precautions to protect everyone who works on our productions around the world,” the studio said.

The Warner Bros. statement did not mention Hanks.

It was not immediately clear if filming on the project would be postponed due to the actor’s illness.

Hanks won best actor Academy Awards for his role in 1994’s Philadelphia, in which he plays a man stricken with AIDS, and Forrest Gump the following year. Wilson has appeared in such films as Sleepless in Seattle and Runaway Bride.

The coronavirus has infected more than 121,000 people in 118 countries while over 4,300 people have died due to the virus, according to a Reuters tally. In the United States at least 37 people have died from the respiratory illness.

AVOIDING RESTRICTIONS
Meanwhile, US rock band Nada Surf decided the show must go on when France, in the grip of the coronavirus epidemic, banned crowds of more than 1,000 people in indoor venues. To get around the ban, they were to play the same Paris concert twice in one evening.

On Tuesday, rock singer Van Morrison also played two shows in Paris’ Olympia concert hall to get around crowd limits.

Nada Surf’s Weber said he expects concerts in London, Manchester, Dublin, and Glasgow in the next four days will also go ahead as planned, but added that he feared that the next leg of the band’s European tour may be affected. In April, the band has scheduled performances in several European countries, including Italy, which has been under lockdown since Monday.

Madonna canceled shows in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday due to restrictions imposed over the coronavirus outbreak, promoter Live Nation said on Monday.

France has more than 1,600 confirmed coronavirus infections and a death toll of 30, but has no limits on travel.

COACHELLA POSTPONED
The Coachella music festival in the Southern California desert has been postponed for six months until October because of concerns over the coronavirus, organizer Goldenvoice said on Tuesday.

The festival, one of the biggest in the world, brings half a million fans to an open-air site in Indio, east of Los Angeles, over two weekends and was due to take place on April 10-12 and April 17-19. The 20-year-old festival will now take place Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18.

The line-up this year was headlined by Rage Against the Machine, Frank Ocean and Travis Scott.

The producer Goldenvoice said it had also postponed Stagecoach, a country music festival held in Indio, to Oct. 23-25 from April.

The decisions follow the cancellation last week of the South by South West festival of film, music, technology that had been scheduled for March 13-22 in Austin, Texas.

Musicians have canceled concerts in Asia and Europe because of the spread of the virus, and American rock band Pearl Jam on Monday announced it was postponing all of its planned US and Canada dates through the end of April.

MULAN PREMIERE GOES ON
Walt Disney Co. held a red carpet premiere for its action epic Mulan on Monday, pushing ahead with the movie’s rollout even though the coronavirus spread will keep the film out of China, the second-largest film market, indefinitely.

At the moment, film studios have decided the show must go on at movie theaters in most of the world. The major exception is James Bond thriller No Time to Die, which producers moved to November from April.

On Tuesday, Sony Pictures postponed to August the release of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway citing disruption in the movie market in Europe. Italy on Tuesday placed the entire country on lockdown and France has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people in a bid to contain the virus.

Hollywood studio executives are closely watching the spread of the coronavirus and the upcoming film calendar. Summer blockbuster season is scheduled to kick off May 1 with Disney’s Marvel adventure Black Widow, followed by a new Fast and Furious spectacle from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, a Top Gun sequel from ViacomCBS Inc’s Paramount Pictures, and other big-budget action flicks.

If the coronavirus keeps people at home or shuts more theaters, it would threaten box office receipts during Hollywood’s most lucrative season. Movie theaters are closed across China and Italy and in part of France.

The situation puts movie studios in “uncharted waters,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. studio.

Warner Bros. has not delayed any film openings, Goldstein said, “but we have an open mind. We will have to look at everything and see how it unfolds.”

Mulan, a $200 million live-action remake of Disney’s animated classic, has been expected to rank as one of the company’s biggest hits of the year.

The movie was tailored to appeal especially to the Chinese market. The story features a Chinese heroine and an all-Asian cast, and parts were filmed in China. The central character is played by Yifei Liu, a film and TV actress well known in China.

It was unclear when Chinese movie theaters will re-open. The movie is set to debut in the United States on March 27.

K-POP HALTS SHOWS
Japan’s travel restrictions on South Koreans over the coronavirus epidemic have spurred cancellations of a string of K-pop concerts scheduled in Japan, threatening to hurt the Korean entertainment industry in its most lucrative market.

Japan said starting Monday, people arriving from South Korea will be quarantined for two weeks. Tokyo also suspended visa waivers and the validity of existing visas for Koreans, followed by a similar move by South Korea, rekindling a diplomatic feud between the neighbors.

South Korean boy band Super Junior called off its tours scheduled to take place on March 25 and 26 in Japan, citing the Japanese government’s measures to “curb immigration.”

South Korea’s entertainment firm CJ ENM followed suit, postponing its annual K-pop festival KCON in Japan. KCON in Japan last year drew more than 88,000 fans, according to CJ ENM.

Japan’s travel restrictions are a fresh blow to the entertainment industry in the wake of a fast-spreading virus. K-pop events have also been canceled or postponed elsewhere in the world because of the epidemic.

A Korean music festival in Los Angeles, originally planed for April 25, was postponed due to “travel restrictions in Asia.”

At home, boy band BTS canceled its scheduled April concert in Seoul, amid growing concerns of the new coronavirus outbreak, its music label, Big Hit Entertainment previously said. — Reuters





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