Organizers of one of Hong Kong’s biggest annual trade fairs postponed the event for the first time in its 31-year history after a record spike in local Covid-19 cases.
The Hong Kong Book Fair, which drew about a million visitors and a record 686 exhibitors last year, will be rescheduled after discussions with the government, the organizer said in a statement Monday, without specifying the new date
Three other events will also be pushed back, it said. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which was planning to hold the event July 15 to 21, had been resisting pressure to postpone the event despite the recent surge in locally transmitted cases. The move shows how local businesses are bracing for another round of debilitating restrictions after the city was gradually returning to pre-COVID activity with the reopening of schools, gyms, restaurants and bars. ‘
About 80% of 200 exhibitors surveyed by the 2020 Book Fair Concern Group were considering pulling out of the event, Radio Television Hong Kong reported on Sunday. One of the exhibitors, Kowloon Motor Bus Co., announced Sunday it would skip the event because of safety concerns.
Hong Kong had been one of the world’s most successful places in managing the virus’s spread — authorities had reported no new local cases for three weeks until early July. But the resurgence of the virus in the past week prompted authorities to tighten some social-distancing rules and close schools again. On Sunday, Hong Kong authorities reported 38 new coronavirus cases and said they didn’t know how 13 of the infections occurred.