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Coronavirus: Eurovision Song Contest cancelled for first time in 64 year history

Flags are waved ahead of the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in the B&W Halls in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, May 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Coronavirus

The Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled for the first time in its 64 history due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

The decision was announced on Wednesday in a statement from the European Broadcasting Union.

The message read: "It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam.

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"Over the past few weeks we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead.

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands, center, celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest grand final with the song "Arcade" in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, May 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

"However the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe - and the restriction put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities - means the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.

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"We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it cannot take place in May."

The 2020 final of the annual music event was due to be held in Rotterdam on Saturday 16 May, with Graham Norton returning to commentate for UK viewers.

Josh Dubovie of United Kingdom and Graham Norton attend the press conference held after a final dress rehearsal of the Eurovision Song Contest on May 28, 2010 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Nigel Waldron/Getty Images)

Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor added: "We are very proud of the Eurovision Song Contest, that for 64 years has united people all around Europe. And we are deeply disappointed about this situation. The EBU, together with the Host Broadcaster NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue to talk to see if it's possible to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in 2021.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the process of staging a great Eurovision Song Contest this year. Unfortunately, that was not possible due to factors beyond our control. We regret this situation very much, but I can promise you: the Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever."

In February, James Newman was announced as the UK's entrant to the competition with his song My Last Breath.

It is yet to be confirmed whether or not this year's acts' songs will be eligible for 2021, if they are guaranteed a return.