Shows ‘will go on’ despite virus fears

Attendance at the Boston expo is expected to be impacted by the coronavirus

THE organisers of the world’s biggest seafood exhibitions have advised show goers not to shake hands in the wake of coronavirus fears.

Diversified Communications, the company behind the Boston and Brussels expos, has been issuing health and safety updates ahead of its next event, in Boston from March 15-17.

The ‘no-contact, no-handshake policy’ comes as the virus, now known as Covid-19, continues to spread beyond China.

Health protection measures at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre include cleaning and thoroughly disinfecting common areas and surfaces during the day.

There will also be signs encouraging increased hand washing and hygiene, while hand sanitiser stations and disinfectant wipes will be positioned in high volume traffic areas.

Medically trained public safety staff and Boston emergency medical services will be on site during the Seafood Expo North America event.

Meanwhile, those heading for Seafood Expo Global in Brussels in April have been told by group vice president of Diversified Communications, Liz Plizga, to check the company’s website for updates on preventative measures.

‘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,’ she said.

‘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.

‘We are working with the venue and local authorities responsible to assess risks and protocols and following the WHO [World Health Organisation] recommendations on actions to be taken around the COVID-19.

‘Based on their guidance, Diversified Communications will implement the most effective additional preventive measures as necessary.’

She added: ‘Diversified Communications has been responding to public safety situations for many years and has an effective crisis management protocol in place.

‘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.’

The organisers of the NASF (North Atlantic Seafood Forum), to be held in Bergen next week, have also issued safety advice.

\’We are aware of the situation with the Covid-19, the coronavirus, and we monitor the situation closely,\’ said the directors in a statement.

\’We have daily contact with the local authorities of Bergen and follow the guidelines given by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

\’We recommend our guests to maintain good hand hygiene and cough etiquette throughout the conference.

\’The hotel where NASF2020 takes place has increased their frequency of cleaning and disinfection of the whole hotel, and they have made even more hand sanitisers available for everyone to use.\’

The coronavirus, which broke out in Wuhan in China, has claimed more than 2,800 lives worldwide. Countries now affected include Iran, Italy, the UK, France, Spain, South Korea and Switzerland.

US president Donald Trump said the danger to Americans ‘remains very low’ and predicted that the number of cases diagnosed in the country, currently 15, could fall to zero in a ‘few days’, the Guardian reported.

The World Health Organisation said the fight against the coronavirus was at a \’decisive point\’.

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