TORONTO -- The Canadian Opera Company is dropping the rest of its 2019/2020 season amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

General director Alexander Neef says the move was taken to protect its audiences, artists and staff from infection by the novel coronavirus.

He says the cancellations include upcoming performances of "Aida," "The Flying Dutchman," and all other events until further notice.

The COC is among several arts organizations facing unprecedented financial challenges as political and public health officials ban public gatherings.

Neef says Toronto's arts sector is expected to lose substantial revenue now and in the coming months.

He is also asking COC fans to consider donating to the arts organization to weather the shutdown.