VIRUS: Print shows being cancelled but China back

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Print shows around the world are being pulled as the coronavirus spreads, with expos in the US, UK, and Bangkok the latest to be postponed, although a major Chinese sign show slated for February but cancelled, has now been rescheduled for July.

Corona virus: postponed trade events
Corona virus: postponed trade events

Dscoop Orlando, Sign & Digital UK, and Labelexpo SouthEast Asia have all been canned overnight, as organisers face the reality of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

Dscoop Orlando was due to be a preview of the HP drupa releases for the user group. It has now been postponed to an as yet unspecified date. Given it was in a drupa year not too many ANZ printers were due to attend, although Kelvin Gage, chairman of the Asia Pacific Japan region said numbers would have been around the 10-15 marker.

Sign & Digital is a 30 year old UK wide-format show due to be held at the former home of Ipex, the NEC. It was set to be held at the end of April with around 5000 printers due to attend, but has now been postponed until next March.

Labelexpo South East Asia was due to take place 7-9 May in Bangkok, but has now been postponed until September. The show is organised by Tarsus, the group that puts on the Labelexpo exhibitions in Brussels and Chicago.

The rescheduling of the three print events comes a week after major wide format show Fespa Global in Madrid and the London Book Fair, both due to take place in March, were postponed.

The big mama, drupa, is currently scheduled to go ahead 16-26 June, with organisers facing an agonising few weeks as they come under pressure from exhibitors to make a decision. The giant show does have a few weeks to wait and see if the virus recedes, and is widely assumed it will need to make a decision by Easter, which is around nine weeks out from the show's scheduled opening. Final decision on whether the show goes ahead though rests with the local health authority, which can cancel it at any time, drupa and its exhibitors though would not want to risk cancellation once the stands were being built or the show had started.

At present the coronavirus is on the march in Germany, with the epicentre actually in the region that contains Düsseldorf. The first two fatalities occurred there, on Monday. Overnight the state government of Bavaria – which is at the other end of Germany – banned all gatherings of more than 1000 people. Italy, which provides a decent number of drupa exhibitors, is in lockdown until 3 April in a bid to contain Covid-19.

On the up side the big Chinese sign show APPPExpo due to run in February, that was cancelled in January, has been rescheduled to July, in another sign the Chinese authorities are seeing the tide turn in their battle against the virus. The Shanghai show is expected to attract 200,000 visitors over the four days 21-24 July.

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