With nine weeks to go before the Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global in Brussels, and the ongoing spread of coronavirus from China to Europe and beyond, the show’s organizer issued a statement on February 25 about the evolving situation.
“We understand there are concerns and questions around the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) in relation to the event and would like to reassure you that the health and safety of our exhibitors, attendees and staff are our priority. The event is scheduled to take place as planned from 21-23 April 2020 at the Brussels Expo in Brussels, Belgium. Exhibitors and attendees continue registering for the event,” said Liz Plizga, group vice president of Diversified Communications.
“We are working with the venue and local authorities responsible to assess risks and protocols and following the WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations on actions to be taken around the Covid-19,” she continued. “Based on their guidance, Diversified Communications will implement the most effective additional preventive measures as necessary.”
The announcement came several weeks after the Portland, Maine, USA-headquartered company, which also puts on the annual Seafood Expo North America (SENA) event, issued a similar statement regarding the March 15-17 show in Boston, Massachusetts. The initial advisory was updated on February 25 to, among other things, declare a “no-contact, no-handshake” policy at the expo and implementation of onsite hygiene measures that will include the positioning of hand sanitizer stations and disinfectant wipes in key high-traffic areas throughout the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.
By now the deadly pneumonia-like disease caused by the virus has claimed 2,769 lives, all except 54 of which have occurred in the PRC. Europe in on alert, as 12 people have died in northern Italy and one has succumbed in France.
Globally, there are 81,184 confirmed cases of the sickness and as of 26 February 30,006 patients were reported to have recovered by China’s National Health Commission (NHC) and other sources. On that day South Korea reported almost 300 new coronavirus cases. The death toll in Korea now stands at 12, and 19 fatalities have been recorded in Iran.
Selloffs in stock markets around the world have resulted in a value loss of approximately $3 trillion over the past four days and the price of oil has dropped sharply as business and social activities in China, the world’s second largest economy, have been greatly curtailed by the implementation of widespread quarantines, regional lockdowns and factory closures.
Meanwhile Diversified Communications, which has been responding to public safety situations for many years and has an effective crisis management protocol in place, is monitoring developments closely.
“We have 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,” said Plizga.
All trade shows and exhibitions in China have been postponed until further notice. In Europe, the scheduled February 24-27 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, which ranks as the world’s largest annual telecom industry gathering was cancelled. The decision was made after a number major exhibitors, among them Sony Corp., NTT Docomo, Intel Corp., Nvidia, Cisco Systems Inc, Sprint Corp. and Facebook, bowed out earlier in the month. – Reported by John Saulnier