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Democratic debate in Arizona will have no audience

March 11, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Democratic presidential front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will debate as scheduled Sunday in Arizona amid the coronavirus outbreak — but without a live audience.

The Democratic National Committee says it is making the move “at the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution.”

DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa said local public health officials had advised that the debate could continue as planned.

The debate will be held at the Arizona Federal Theatre in downtown Phoenix, which can hold up to 5,000 people.

Debate broadcaster CNN said it is also canceling plans for a media filing center and “spin room,” where campaign surrogates are available for interviews. Instead, journalists covering the debate will have to watch it on television.

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Both Biden and Sanders cancelled their election night events Tuesday in Ohio amid concerns about the epidemic.