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Coronavirus Takes Down Fashion Events and Turns Away Chinese Vendors

It may still be business as usual for some trade shows in the apparel and footwear space, with MAGIC, FN Platform and Project ongoing in Las Vegas this week, but other events are putting their dates off as the world works to contain the swiftly spreading coronavirus.

In a message to attendees Monday, American Events said it will postpone the NE Materials Show that was slated to take place in Boston Wednesday and Thursday this week, as well as the NW Materials Show that was set for Feb. 12-13 in Portland, Ore. Both events have been postponed “until further notice.”

“We are committed to the safety of our clients and partners,” American Events said Monday, adding that it will share updates once it is able to reschedule the events.

While Premiere Vision Sport, another industry trade show that falls under the events management company’s umbrella, will continue as planned in Portland on Feb. 12-13, it won’t be welcoming any Chinese exhibitors.

“Due to the recent decision of the U.S. Department of Health, we feel very sorry we cannot welcome our Chinese friends for this edition,” Premiere Vision Sport said Monday. “We are closely following the evolution of the coronavirus health situation and are fully committed to applying, if necessary, any and all measures advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the local Department of Health.”

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus.

“While this virus poses a serious public health threat, the risk to the American public remains low at this time, and we are working to keep this risk low,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar said.

Part of that effort includes President Trump’s assembled Coronavirus Task Force, which will work on quarantining incoming U.S. citizens that have been in the Hubei Province where the virus emerged, and ordering “monitored self-quarantine” for those who have been in other parts of Mainland China in the 14 days prior to their arrival. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been enlisted to monitor the country’s ports—land, sea and air.

As of Monday morning, there have been 17,238 confirmed cases of infection in China and 361 deaths, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. Outside of China, there have been 151 confirmed cases in 23 countries, and one death.

Now that it has been confirmed that the virus can be spread between persons who aren’t showing any symptoms at all, the fear at this stage is how to contain an infection before it can even be detected.