Milan trade show Filo has become the latest to cancel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, as the number of people infected with Covid-19 jumps to over 200 in Italy, where five people have died.

Scheduled for 27-29 February at the Milano Convention Centre, organisers say the decision has been taken due to the “severity of the emergency”, confirmed by measures taken by public authorities at the weekend.

Around a dozen towns in Italy are in lock-down to try and contain the virus, including the Regione Lombardia, following the signing of a decree yesterday (23 February) by the President of Regione Lombardia, Attilio Fontana, and health minister Roberto Speranza.

The decree provides for the suspension of events or initiatives of any nature, of shows and of any form of meeting in public or private places.

Organisers of Filo say in a statement: “The rapid – and extremely critical – evolution of the health emergency in Northern Italy, and in particular in the Lombardy region, made this decision necessary, determined by reasons of force majeure, as well as protecting the safety of the exhibitors and visitors themselves, their collaborators and their families.

“Filo is aware of the problems resulting from this decision for all the operators involved, national and international, but can only comply with the decisions of the public authorities, given the continuous dramatic evolution of the crisis caused by the new coronavirus. To cancel the 53rd edition of Filo is, therefore, a decision taken with great regret, but also with a sense of responsibility.”

Trade show Denimsandjeans last week announced revised dates for the first edition of its Japan event after postponing the show over concerns surrounding the virus outbreak and its impact on the safety and travel plans of global buyers, visitors, and exhibitors.

The event is among a number – mainly in Asia but also in the US – that were have been pushed back following requests by the Chinese government to cancel large-scale gatherings to try to limit the spread of the disease, as well as restrictions on mainland Chinese visitors – a core component at many trade fairs – from travelling to other countries.

According to Sky News, Austria is assembling a coronavirus taskforce to discuss whether to introduce border controls with Italy. Concern has also been expressed by France’s director of health, Jerome Salomon, who warned of further cases in France due to its proximity to Italy. He said there were no plans for border controls. Germany said it was also not yet considering border closures.

Meanwhile, in a statement today, the European Commission says its priority is on the containment of the disease in widely affected areas and on “strengthening preparedness”. It has pledged a EUR232m (US$251m) aid package. 

Click here for additional insight on the coronavirus outbreak: Is coronavirus a threat to the clothing industry?