Will only cancel Cannes if coronavirus outbreak worsens: festival prez

London, Mar 12 (PTI) Asserting that the team of Cannes Film Festival was 'not oblivious' to the coronavirus pandemic, the president of the film festival said the 2020 edition will be cancelled if the outbreak worsens.

The 73rd annual festival is scheduled to take place from May 12-23.

Festival president Pierre Lescure said he is 'reasonably optimistic' about going ahead with the movie gala at present, according to The Guardian, which quoted French publication Le Figaro.

'We remain reasonably optimistic in the hope that the peak of the epidemic will be reached at the end of March and that we will breathe a little better in April,' Lescure said.

'But we are not oblivious. If not, we will cancel,' he added.

On Sunday, the French government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The festival is expected to attract about 40,000 attendees, including delegates to the film market that operates alongside the screening schedule.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the prestigious film festival said the edition would go ahead as planned.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee is set as the jury head of the festival, becoming the first African-American to lead the distinguished panel at the annual film extravaganza.

If the festival is cancelled, it will be for the third time that it is called off. The movie gala did not take place in 1948 and 1950 due to budgetary constraints. PTI RDS BK BK