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Dems Unveil Plan to Move Primary Debate to D.C. as Moderator Pulls out Over Coronavirus Outbreak

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The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is announcing changes to be made for the upcoming primary debate in Arizona.

On Thursday, DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa released a statement about the upcoming debate changes in the wake of the latest coronavirus developments.

It has confirmed that the debate will no longer be held in Phoenix, Ariz. The DNC has opted to move the event to CNN’s studio in Washington.

Another key change is the decision to hold the debate without a live audience in an effort to reduce travel and large gatherings.

“Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday’s debate at CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience,” Hinojosa said.

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Hinojosa also announced Univision anchor and moderator Jorge Ramos will not be moderating the debate. Ramos is opting to forego the debate after possibly being exposed to the coronavirus. While he is not currently experiencing any symptoms associated with the virus, his decision was made as a precaution.

Univision’s Ilia Calderón will be moderating in his place.

“Both Mr. Ramos and the person he was in contact with are in good health and symptom-free,” Hinojosa said. “Univision’s News Anchor Ilia Calderón will moderate the debate in his place.”

The latest news follows key updates about the coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization announced that the virus had been officially upgraded to a pandemic.

“WHO is deeply concerned by the alarming levels of the #coronavirus spread, severity & inaction, & expects to see the number of cases, deaths & affected countries climb even higher,” the organization tweeted. “Therefore, we made the assessment that #COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

The Democratic primary debate is scheduled to air from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 15 in Washington, D.C.

Despite the current changes for the debate, the DNC has confirmed the Democratic National Convention in July will go on as planned.

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