The Virginia Festival of the Book said it will hold its upcoming programs as planned, but is monitoring the global coronavirus outbreak.

The University of Virginia, Virginia Humanities and the festival are monitoring the public health situation in coordination with UVa Emergency Management, festival staff said in an email Wednesday evening, and are working to ensure the safety of speakers, attendees, volunteers and staff. The festival will take place from March 18 to 22.

No confirmed case of COVID-19 has been reported in Virginia or among UVa students, faculty, staff or the local Charlottesville community.

Should a case be positively identified, appropriate communications as guided by the Virginia Department of Health will occur, according to the festival.

The festival aims to have hand sanitizer available at venues and to protect food and drink, according to the email.

"If you experience symptoms, or have reason to believe you have been exposed to someone with symptoms, prior to the Festival, please seek medical advice and DO NOT attend the Festival," the staff wrote.

"Even with these precautions, we cannot guarantee that there will be no risk," they wrote. "Please consider your personal health and that of your family and community as you finalize your plans to join us for the 2020 Festival."

Staff said they plan to send another update on March 11. People with specific concerns related to the 2020 festival can email email books@virginiahumanities.org.

More information about the annual festival, which this year includes more than 120 free programs as well as its headliner events, can be found at vabook.org.

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