As COVID-19 has been officially declared a pandemic, sanctions and bans on public events and sports crowds are affecting countries across the globe. In an unfortunate sweep of irony, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has had to cancel a meeting in New York called “Doing Business Under Coronavirus” that was due to go ahead this Friday due to… coronavirus. Spread of the illness within the US has meant that the CFR has also taken the move to cancel all face-to-face conferences from March 11 to April 3.
The United Nations has also canceled all UNFCCC climate meetings until the end of April, in a dramatic move to safeguard the international participants in attendance. The first event was to take place in Bonn, Germany, as part of the buildup to COP26, the UN climate summit that’s still currently scheduled to go ahead in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. It’s going to be the largest and most significant round of climate change negotiations since the 2015 Paris Agreement (COP21) and so these cancellations due to coronavirus could greatly impact preparations.
The problems don’t even stop on terra firma, as the European Space Agency and Roscosmos have been forced to pump the brakes on a planned launch to send their Mars rover Rosalind Franklin to search for signs of life on Mars. The ExoMars mission has been delayed until 2022 after the initial launch date of July of this year was thrown into jeopardy in part due to the coronavirus, alongside issues with landing checks and parachutes needed to get the equipment to the Red Planet in one piece.
Within the music industry, cancellations of large gatherings have been rife. Madonna, Stormzy, Pearl Jam, Mariah Carey, Foals, The National, New Order and The Who (not the WHO, don't get fooled again) have all announced gigs across the globe will not be going ahead, putting the health and safety of fans and artists alike first. After the postponement of the Coachella festival in California, moving from April to October, there are fears surrounding future large events such as Glastonbury in the summer as per under our current understanding, there’s uncertainty as to how the illness will continue to spread in the warmer summer months.
However, in France, one mayor refused to bend to the will of the people under project fear, defiantly hosting a Smurf rally as, in his words, “we must not stop living.” The bold-in-blue decision came just before France officially banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Smurfs are small, blue, human-like creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest, under threat from the evil wizard Gargamel, sworn enemy to the Smurfs, in case you didn't know.
On Saturday, 3,500 Smurf cosplayers gathered in Landerneau, France, in an attempt to break a world record. Bizarrely, it seems Smurf gatherings are taking place all over the globe as the award was given to a gathering of 2,762 Smurfs in Lauchringen, Germany, last year. The mayor of Landerneau defended the decision to stay the course for the planned gathering despite concerns of communicable spread of the COVID-19 disease.
You can take away their continental flight liberties, but you’ll never take their Smurfs. Vive la résistance!
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