Published on Monday, February 17, 2020

Trade shows step up coronavirus precautions

Trade shows are stepping up advice and precautionary measures in light of coronavirus concerns.

Organisers of next week's Business Travel Show in London and next month's ITB trade show in Berlin say the events will go ahead and they are 'well prepared' to deal with cases.

However, BTS has told delegates who have travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days not to attend the event, which takes place on February 26 and 27.

The nine destinations are on a list that Public Health England has issued guidance for.

Advice on the BTS website says visitors and exhibitors who have travelled from any of the nine destinations in the last 14 days and are experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath should follow the advice of Public Health England and stay indoors, avoid contact with other people and call NHS 111.

BTS added: "As the organiser, we would add that if you have travelled to any of the above countries in the last 14 days we recommend that you do not travel to the Business Travel Show."

It says the risk to individuals in the UK from coronavirus remains low, but it is 'putting measures in place in order to prioritise the welfare of our exhibitors, visitors and staff'.

"By closely working with our partners, including the venue Olympia London, we are following the World Health Organisation (WHO) and NHS guidelines to raise awareness about simple steps to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading by providing signage at the event as well as sanitising gel in areas where people congregate. We are also proactively keeping our exhibitors up to date about our plans.

"A risk assessment has taken place at Olympia London and measures have been put into place with regards to this matter."

In addition, BTS' onsite medical team has been made aware of the signs and symptoms of the virus and what actions to take if they suspect anyone of having have the virus.

Organisers of next month's ITB say authorities in Berlin are 'well prepared to deal with any cases' and have introduced new measures during the exhibition, which takes place from March 4 to 8.

In a message to delegates, ITB said: "As you are aware, cases of the coronavirus have also been identified in Europe, including here in Germany. Indeed, the authorities in Berlin have already issued a statement to the effect that Berlin is very well prepared to deal with any cases.

"The safety and health of our exhibitors, visitors and partners is our number one priority.

"At present, we do not foresee any impacts for the upcoming ITB Berlin, but as a precaution we are introducing new measures to increase the safety of all attendees at ITB Berlin."

They include 'a number of rapid response English speaking medical teams and other health professionals onsite' as well as hand disinfectors at the entrances of the exhibition, in addition to hand sanitation already installed in toilets and washrooms.

In addition, ITB said: "We are increasing the frequency with which our sanitary facilities are disinfected; Please notice these simple, common-sense actions to avoid close contact with other people like you would do with other flu viruses."

The message added: "Please be assured that we are monitoring the situation very closely and are in regular contact with the health authorities of the State of Berlin. Should there be any changes to the current status, we will take account of any recommendations from the relevant federal and state authorities, and the municipal health authorities, and implement all appropriate instructions."

Delegates have been told to follow ITB's official social media channels for updates and to check the World Health Organisation web site for more information on coronavirus.

Concern over coronavirus has led to the Mobile World Congress, due to take place in Barcelona on February 24, to be cancelled. Reports said big companies such as Amazon, BT and Nokia have pulled out of the international mobile phone event over health concerns.

In a statement from the mobile communications association GSMA, its CEO John Hoffman, said: "With due regard to a safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

"Travel concerns and other circumstances make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event."

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