CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 21: A general view of the Red Carpet prior to the screening of “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2019 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Anthony Ghnassia/Getty Images)

The world’s most prestigious film festival sent out a defiant PR message amid industry chatter that it could fall victim to the growing epidemic.

With the growing coronavirus epidemic leading to the cancellation or postponement of numerous film festivals and events, as well as the release of major blockbusters such as No Time to Die, eyes have turned to the Cannes Film Festival as potentially becoming the biggest casualty of the unfolding situation.

But on Friday organizers sent out a defiant PR message aimed at countering any major industry withdrawal from the world’s most prestigious film festival, in which they claimed accreditation to the 2020 event, due to take place May 12-23, were continuing at an “intensive pace” and had actually risen 9 percent year-on-year.

Organizers also asserted that the official selection would be unveiled by festival director Thierry Fremaux on April 16 at 11 a.m. CET, at the UGC Normandie cinema in Paris.

The announcement came out just two days after organizers of MIPTV, due to kick of in Cannes later this month, pulled the plug on this year’s event over coronavirus concerns and French authorities extended a ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces to May 31.

In February, Spike Lee was announced as being the head of the Cannes jury.