Fespa takes action to minimise coronavirus risk

Jo Francis
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Fespa Global Print Expo has announced restrictions on Chinese exhibitors at the show in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus: Fespa providing "strong reassurance" with new policy
Coronavirus: Fespa providing "strong reassurance" with new policy

Last week Printweek revealed that the organisation was “actively monitoring” all the developments related to COVID-19, with chief executive Neil Felton stating that a number of proactive options were being reviewed “with a view to minimising the risks to all participants at the event.”

“Fespa is committed to safeguarding the health of all exhibitors, visitors and contractors at Fespa events to the best of its capabilities,” he stated.

Today (20 February) Fespa confirmed that Chinese exhibitors would only be able to attend the show if the personnel involved “have not resided in or visited China at any time after 5 March 2020”.

In a statement Fespa said: “With effect from 20.2.2020, Fespa is formally contacting all exhibiting companies from China at the three Madrid 2020 exhibitions, requiring that they provide documented evidence that all representatives of their company attending the exhibitions, including sub-contractors, have not resided in or visited China at any time after 5th March 2020. This represents a two-week period preceding the beginning of the build-up of the exhibitions.

“Fespa believes that this proactive policy is in the best interests of the health and well-being of exhibitors, attendees, partners and staff (as well as the general public in the host city of Madrid).

“Fespa recognises the importance of the Madrid 2020 exhibitions to the exhibitor community within China and has made every effort to minimise the disruption and impact to these companies.”

Exhibiting companies from China that do not fulfil this requirement will not be able to participate, Fespa added. The options for these companies “are being clearly communicated to them in writing by Fespa’s representatives in China.”

Printweek is aware of some Chinese manufacturers that have already cancelled their presence at the show, but the full effect of the new policy on exhibitor numbers is not yet clear.

Fespa said that other exhibitors and pre-registered visitors should not attend if they have visited China after 5 March 2020.

Fespa is also working closing with the IFEMA expo venue in Madrid, and said the exhibition centre had increased its existing health measures and had protocols “linked to those established both by the World Health Organisation and by the national Spanish Ministry of Health and regional Council of Health of the Community of Madrid regarding first-line actions to be taken should a case of infection by this virus be detected within its facilities.”

Hygiene measures at the showground have also been expanded.

Felton commented: “By taking this proactive step with regard to our exhibiting companies to China, our aim is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of every participant at our Fespa 2020 events to the best of our abilities, while also providing strong reassurance to our exhibitor and visitor communities. We look forward to a vibrant and successful event in Madrid in March.” 

Fespa Global Print Expo 2020 will take place from 24-27 March at the IFEMA in Madrid. 

The show is co-located with sister exhibitions European Sign Expo 2020 and Sportswear Pro 2020. It includes a raft of Chinese exhibitors including gold sponsor partner Hanglory Group.

Yesterday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that there had been 120 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours outside of China, but no new countries had reported cases of COVID-19. There have been 75,204 cases confirmed in total, of which 74,208 are in China.

There have been two confirmed cases in Spain, and no deaths.


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