South China Morning Post
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) has announced it will postpone the city’s annual book fair and three other major public events this month amid mounting concerns over a worsening Covid-19 crisis.The city’s event organiser said on Monday the book fair, which was expected to start on Wednesday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, and three events slated for later this month – Sports and Leisure Expo, Education and Careers Expo and Entrepreneur Day – would be rescheduled.TDC said it had discussed the recent resurgence of coronavirus cases with the government over the weekend and was advised to postpone the events.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“The health of Hong Kong people is a priority,” it said. “Given the latest epidemic situation and the government reimposing certain social-distancing restrictions on public health grounds, the book fair … should be avoided.” Hong Kong Book Fair exhibitors, health expert call for annual event to be postponed or suspendedThe organiser said given the huge number of people involved in these public events, it would be difficult to conduct contact tracing and undertake subsequent disease-control measures in case virus infections emerged from these venues.The book fair last year attracted 980,000 visitors over its seven-day run.TDC assured that the government would continue to support exhibitors under the anti-epidemic fund when the fairs were rescheduled to a later date.“The government and TDC understand the disappointment of the industry sector and exhibitors as well as the public with the postponement of this major annual event,” it said.TDC said it would be in contact with various parties to discuss rescheduling arrangements, and details would be available in due course.Holders of purchased tickets of the book fair can request a refund upon presentation of the passes. Details on this will be announced on the book fair’s website.On Entrepreneur Day on July 16 and 17, a number of virtual seminars will be broadcast live as scheduled, while arrangements for the exhibition portion will be announced later.“With safety as a priority, TDC will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with stakeholders,” it said.The decisions came as the city is battling a third wave of coronavirus infections, described by health officials as the most severe phase so far of the public health crisis.Health authorities had warned that the pandemic situation in the city was “getting a bit out of hand” with dozens of new cases emerging every day.Hong Kong confirmed 38 new cases on Sunday, 30 of them being local infections. As of Monday at noon, the city recorded 1,469 cases.The postponement will hit us financially, but public health should come firstJimmy Pang, spokesman, Hong Kong Book Fair Concern GroupOne prospective participant, Humming Publishing, said on its webpage it received news that the book fair had been postponed. It also said it would turn the exhibition into an online one and asked readers to keep track of its company news.Last week, more than 50 exhibitors urged authorities to postpone or suspend the annual event, citing concerns over the new wave of viral infections.Bus operator KMB also announced it would pull out of the event.Jimmy Pang Chi-ming, spokesman of 2020 Hong Kong Book Fair Concern Group, said the postponement was the best arrangement in view of the worsening health crisis.“The revenue from the book fair usually accounted for about half of local publishers’ earnings. The postponement will hit us financially, but public health should come first. I hope the government will continue to extend its subsidies, capped at HK$100,000 (US$13,000) each, for exhibitors,” he said.Retail sales of books, newspapers, stationery and gifts plunged 40 per cent in April year on year, official data showed. Hong Kong third wave: authorities warn of hospital care crunch as new coronavirus cases emergeThe number of exhibitors expected to join the fair this year has dipped by about 15 per cent, to 585 participants from last year’s 686. This year’s theme, “Words to Warm the Heart”, focuses on motivational and inspirational reading.But the government will go ahead with an event called Energising Hong Kong Films in Central on Monday afternoon. Commerce minister Edward Yau Tang-wah will officiate the event.The winners of the 6th First Feature Film Initiative will be announced on the occasion, to be attended by members of the Hong Kong Film Development Council and some local film directors.Purchase the 100+ page China Internet Report 2020 Pro Edition, brought to you by SCMP Research, and enjoy a 30% discount (original price US$400). The report includes deep-dive analysis, trends, and case studies on the 10 most important internet sectors. Now in its 3rd year, this go-to source for understanding China tech also comes with exclusive access to 6 webinars with C-level executives. Offer valid until 31 August 2020. To purchase, please click here.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong third wave: authorities warn of hospital care crunch and order schools to close as 38 new coronavirus cases emerge * Hong Kong Book Fair exhibitors, health expert call for annual event to be postponed or suspended, citing Covid-19 infection concernsThis article Coronavirus: Hong Kong book fair and other events postponed amid Covid-19 third wave first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.