Global Updates

Coronavirus: Event safety measures

Latest updates for event professionals.

While the situation surrounding the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak continues to evolve, event professionals across Asia have taken a range of precautionary measures to ensure the wellbeing of staff and event attendees. While some have decided to cancel or postpone events, others have proceeded with health and safety awareness campaigns and increased onsite support.

Below, we’ve listed this week’s need-to-know updates for event professionals:

  • The Global Space and Technology Convention 2020 took place at the Grand Hyatt Singapore this week, with additional health and safety measures. Organiser, Singapore Space & Technology Association (SSTA), worked with the venue to enforce temperature screening of all delegates, increased wipe down of common facilities, and the setting-up of an Isolation Room (strictly as a precautionary measure). The event saw a positive turn-out, with a keynote address delivered by Singapore’s senior minister and coordinating minister for national security, Teo Chee Hean. SSTA sent regular updates to all attendees before and during the event to ensure transparent communication and encourage attendees to observe good hygiene practices.

  • Organisers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona announced this week that the event, the world’s largest mobile-focused tech expo, will proceed as planned on 24-27 February with additional precautionary measures, including a ‘no-handshake policy’ and increased onsite medical support. Nevertheless, South Korean tech firm, LG, decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at this year’s event over fears surrounding further spread of the virus.

  • Singapore Tourism Board (STB) unveiled targeted measures to support tourism businesses affected by 2019-nCoV, including licence fee waivers for hotels, travel agents and tourist guides, and help with cleaning costs at hotels that provided accommodation to confirmed and suspected cases of nCoV infections. Full details of the overall package of relief measures will be announced as part of the 2020 Budget 2020 on 18 Feb. 

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced a US$675 million preparedness and response plan to support ‘vulnerable countries’.

  • GBTA released findings of a global survey that revealed nine in ten (89%) travel managers are personally concerned about the coronavirus spreading around the world, with half (40%) being ‘very concerned’.

  • Informa Markets, organiser of of biennial trade show Food&HotelAsia (FHA), announced that FHA Food & Beverage will take place at Singapore EXPO as planned on 31 March to 3 April. However, sister show FHA HoReCa, scheduled for 3-6 March, has been postponed to July.  Informa Markets said it will continue to work closely with government authorities and agencies to put in place necessary measures, both pre-event and onsite, to help ensure the safety and confidence of event participants.

  • UFI has postponed the 2020 UFI Asia Pacific Conference which was scheduled to be held in Macau on 5-6 March and the Digital Innovation Forum which was scheduled on 4 March.

  • Officials in Macau this week asked its 41 casinos to close for two weeks in an effort to curb further spread of the coronavirus.

  • Virgin Australia has permanently ceased flights to Hong Kong. The announcement comes after the airline said it will suspend its Melbourne to Hong Kong flights from 11 February. The airline’s Sydney to Hong Kong service will end on 2 March, 2020.

  • Many other airlines have either scaled back services to China or suspended flights to the country, including Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Air France, Air Seoul and Hong Kong Airlines.

  • Several countries have imposed strict travel bans on Chinese travellers as well as foreign nationals who recently visited mainland China.

  • Wuhan International Convention and Exhibition Center and China Optics Valley Convention & Exhibition Center, both ICCA members, have been turned into temporary hospitals.