Sydney’s annual Vivid Festival is the latest major public event to be called off amid fears of coronavirus, as Australia limits large gatherings in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease.

Festival organisers announced the news in a brief statement to social media, promising that the event will resume next year:

“Unfortunately, Vivid Sydney 2020 has been cancelled on the recommendations of the Australian Government and health authorities regarding non-essential, organised gatherings of more than 500 people. Vivid Sydney will shine brighter than ever in 2021!”

The cancellation of Vivid Festival will certainly come as a blow to the economy of NSW. The annual celebration attracts more than two million visitors to the state, and generates billions in tourist revenue.

Multiple sporting events, concerts and festivals have been cancelled in Australia, as the government seeks to encourage social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Formula 1 Melbourne Grand Prix was cancelled on Friday morning, and the entire AFL and AFLW seasons will be played without spectators until further notice.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, a huge event for the city’s entertainment calendar, was due to start on March 25, but its entire three-week program has also been called off.

Sydney’s Royal Easter Show will not go ahead this year, for the first time since the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919.

Image: Getty Images / Mark Metcalfe