Apparel and textile trade fair organisers in China have postponed upcoming events as a precautionary measure around the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Messe Frankfurt says its three textile fairs – Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Spring Edition, Yarn Expo Spring, and Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles – Spring Edition – will be postponed from March to a later date. The events had been due to be held in Shanghai from 11-13 March at the National Exhibition and Convention Center.

“Messe Frankfurt has been an active player in the China market for over 30 years now, so we stand fully behind the government’s efforts to control the outbreak,” says Wendy Wen, senior general manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. 

“This includes the recent suspension of large-scale trade and economic events in a number of cities, so with this and the wellbeing of all our stakeholders in mind, we have made the decision to reschedule our upcoming textile fairs in Shanghai to a later date. Our teams are making every effort to find suitable alternatives, but we will only make the decision to go ahead with these fairs when it is deemed safe to do so.” 

In a similar move, the CHIC 2020 China International Fashion Fair, also planned at the same venue, has been postponed “to effectively protect the health of exhibitors, trade visitors, staff and the public.”

The latest official figures released by the Chinese government today (3 February) suggest more than 17,000 people have been infected in the country, resulting in about 360 deaths. 

Hubei, the central Chinese province of around 60m people at the epicentre of the outbreak of the virus, remains in lockdown, while broader travel within China has also been curtailed as the central government attempts to slow the nationwide spread of the disease. Many provinces have extended the Chinese Lunar New Year ‘holiday’ by a week – until 10 February – including key apparel-producing provinces Guangdong and Zhejiang.

Key trading partners such as the US, Europe and Southeast Asia have also cut flights and other transport links to China as they look to slow the global spread of the virus.

Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co expects the coronavirus outbreak in China to knock revenues in the first quarter of 2020 and has shuttered about half of its stores in the country amid the epidemic.

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