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Filming of Avatar sequels suspended amid concerns over coronavirus pandemic

Filming of the sequels to director James Cameron’s widely-successful Avatar film have been suspended amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Scene from Avatar. Source: 1 NEWS

Twelve people have so far been confirmed to have Covid-19, after four people tested positive for the respiratory illness today.

Equity New Zealand president Jennifer Ward-Lealand said while she was not aware of the suspension, the effects of Covid-19 were wide-reaching across New Zealand's arts sector, Stuff reports.

"It is an evolving crisis for our industry," she said.

Overseas productions in which people were required to enter the country and New Zealand performers travelling overseas are expected to have been affected as countries work to contain the fast-spreading pandemic. 

It comes after the Government on Saturday announced strict border controls that anyone entering the country from overseas would have to self-isolate for 14 days. People entering from the Pacific Islands were made exempt from the rules.

Digital visual effects company Weta Digital had previously confirmed they would be working on the films in post-production.

James Cameron’s Avatar, released in 2009, employed more than 1500 people in New Zealand and injected around $100 million into Wellington’s economy alone.