Diversified Communications, organizer of the upcoming Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America (also known widely as the Boston Seafood Show), has issued a statement concerning the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan that has thus far claimed at least 1,381 lives in China, where the PRC government has officially recorded 63,851 confirmed cases of the disease. By February 13, at least 586 cases and two deaths associated with the virus had been identified in more than 20 other countries around the world.
“The health and safety of our attendees and exhibitors is our primary concern. We, in partnership with the appropriate authorities in the City of Boston, are monitoring the situation regarding the Novel Coronavirus, both in the US and internationally,” said the statement. “The current situation has not impacted attendee and exhibitor registration and we look forward to a successful event on March 15-17, 2020 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC).”
On February 1 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) reported that the “first case of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Massachusetts has been confirmed in a man returning from Wuhan, China who is in his 20s and lives in Boston.”
The infected person, since identified as a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has been quarantined and is being closely monitored. He will remain in isolation until cleared by public health officials.
According to Peter Eliopoulos of WCVB-TV, “The DPH confirms he’s not in a dorm at UMass. He returned to Logan (Airport) from Wuhan, China on 1/28 and sought medical attention on 1/29.”
Thus far 11 cases have been reported in the United States, where the US Department of State on January 31 officially advised Americans not to travel to China. Citizens returning to the United States from China are undergoing “proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.”
Americans who have been in Hubei province are subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk. Furthermore, non-permanent resident foreign nationals who have traveled in the PRC over the past two weeks will not be permitted to enter the United States until further notice.
CDC Advice Being Followed
In advance of the annual seafood trade show in Boston, Diversified Communications is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also working with the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), and appropriate authorities on recommended protocols to protect exhibitors and attendees while at the Expo.
The Public Safety Department is coordinating with the City, State and Federal first responders for “real time” intelligence and response protocol related to the Novel Coronavirus.
The BCEC will have medically trained public safety staff as well as Boston Emergency Medical Services (Boston EMS) onsite during the event and will implement the most effective protocols in accordance with current recommendations.
The BCEC will also increase hand washing signage and hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility and be diligent about the cleaning of public areas.
In addition, the City of Boston has increased efforts to prevent the spread of disease citywide including preparedness meetings with Boston EMS, emergency management agencies, and the police and fire departments. The Massachusetts Port Authority in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control has begun to screen for international travelers through the Boston port of entry at Logan Airport for any signs of illness related to the Novel Coronavirus.
“Diversified Communications has been responding to public safety situations for many years and has an effective crisis management protocol in place. We have great confidence in our partnerships with the cities and local authorities where our events take place, and we will continue to update our customers on new developments. We look forward to a safe and successful event in Boston,” concluded show organizer’s statement.
Last year’s edition of Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America attracted 22,150 visitors and 1,329 exhibitors from 49 countries, including a significant contingent from China. Almost 10% of the exhibit space was occupied by companies from the PRC. – Reported by John Saulnier