Asia News: Clockenflap Cancels, Theater Infections In Tokyo & More
Clockenflap Cancels For Second Year In Hong Kong
Clockenflap, Hong Kong’s biggest annual music and arts festival, has been cancelled for the second year in a row, according to the South China Morning Post.
Normally held at the city’s Harbourfront Event Space in November, Clockenflap’s 2019 edition was called off due to the long-running anti-government demonstrations that gripped the territory in 2019. This year’s version was cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis. No acts had yet been announced for 2020 and no tickets had been sold.
Organizers of the festival wrote in a statement, “Due to the dynamic nature of COVID-19 and the effects on international travel, it’s impossible to deliver the depth and breadth of the Clockenflap festival experience we strive for each year.” The statement did say that the festival would return in 2021 and even specified the dates of Nov. 26-28. The organizers promised it would be “the biggest and best Clockenflap experience ever.”
Mike Hill, the co-founder of the organizing company, Magnetic Asia, told the newspaper, “The biggest challenge for us is the uncertainty of international travel. Would artists be able to come without having to spend 14 days in quarantine? There is a strong chance this may not improve before November. That makes it impossible to create the kind of Clockenflap people want.”
The first Clockenflap was held in 2008 at Cyberport, a business park and residential development on Hong Kong Island, and was attended by 1,500 people. It expanded to the West Kowloon Cultural District in 2011 when it was held for three days for the first time, and then to the Central Harbourfront starting in 2016. In 2018 it attracted 40,000 people a day.
Theater Infections Amp Cries For Stronger Restrictions In Tokyo
Toward the end of June Tokyo had seen its COVID-19 infection numbers stabilize to the point that the government allowed certain business sectors to reopen, including theaters and sports venues. Infection numbers spiked dramatically last week, prompting some leaders to call on the government to reimpose restrictions to events.
Adding ammunition to their demand was the news that between 27 to 30 people – including audience members and theater staff – had become infected after attending performances of a musical called “The Jinro” between June 30 and July 5 at a theater in Tokyo, according to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.
Local authorities then said about 850 people had come into contact with these persons during those days. It was the first time that a coronovirus cluster infection had been traced to a Tokyo theater.
The company that presented the musical, Rise Communication, has been busy trying to contact all 850 people who attended the shows during that time period so that they in turn can contact local public health centers. Though Rise said it carried out government guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus in line with reopening public venues, some media are reporting that one actor who reported feeling unwell nevertheless took the stage because the anitbody test he had taken was negative.
People in the entertainment industry are already anxious because nightclubs have been one of the main sources of cluster infections in Japan, and with theaters now a culprit they are afraid that the government will ask venues to close down again.
Hong Kong Disneyland Closes Again
Less than one month after it had reopened for business Hong Kong Disneyland has announced it will close again on July 15 owing to a surge of new coronavirus infections in the city.
The theme park was one of the first public entertainment venues to close because of the coming pandemic back in January. It initially reopened on June 18.
According a statement released by the Disney organization and quoted by CNN, “As required by the government and health authorities in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland park will temporarily close from 15 July.”
Hong Kong’s was the second Disney theme park to reopen following Shanghai’s in May. So far, there has been no word that Shanghai is closing. Infections in mainland China seem to have been successfully checked, though, like Hong Kong Disneyland in the past month, Shanghai Disneyland has imposed restrictions on admissions and movement within the park. Tokyo Disney Resort also remains open a week after it reopened. The Disney organization owns a 47 percent stake in Hong Kong Disneyland.
China Calls Off All International Sports Competitions
China has announced that it is cancelling all international sporting events for the rest of the year with the exception of trials for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing and Zhangjiakou.
According to CTV News the order came from the General Administration of Sports and affects the WTA tennis finals in Shenzhen in November and four other ATP tournaments.
In addition to tennis two major golf tournaments, the men’s HSBC Champions and an LPGA event, both set for Shanghai, were called off, as were the Asian sport climbing championships in October at Xiamen and the badminton World Tour Finals in Guangzhou in December.
The announcement also obviously means that the Formula one Shanghai Grand Prix, which was postponed indefinitely in April, will not take place this year. Two cycling events, the men’s Tour of Guangxi and the women’s Tour of Chongming Island were also obviously not going to take place in October, though no definite announcement had been made regarding the two events.
The General Administration said that while transmission of the virus in China was under control, it couldn’t guarantee prevention of “imported cases” that might pop up due to international athletes entering the country.
Vienna Boys Choir Cancels Japanese Tour
The Vienna Boys Choir has cancelled its 2020 tour of Japan in lieu of the increase in coronavirus infections worldwide.
The ensemble had originally planned to tour the archipelago from March to May and postponed some of the dates to September after the number of COVID-19 cases started rising in Japan at the end of February.
The September plan was confirmed when the number of cases in Austria had declined significantly, and tickets were already on sale for several dozen dates in Tokyo and other cities.
However, now that infections are on the rise again, the choir says it will cancel the tour outright. It plans to return to Japan in the spring of 2021 and may perform in Taiwan before the end of 2020.