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London Book Fair shelved because of virus fears


Agence France-Presse

 /  Wed, March 4, 2020  /  10:18 pm
London Book Fair shelved because of virus fears

National pride: People gather around Indonesia’s national pavilion at the 2019 London Book Fair, where Indonesia was selected as the Market Focus this year. (Courtesy of Ismiaji Cahyono/-)

One of the world’s biggest publishing trade fairs, the London Book Fair, has been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, its organizers said on Wednesday.

Reed Exhibitions said many international exhibitors and visitors to the fair, which was scheduled to take place from March 10 to 12, were facing travel restrictions as the effects of the virus took hold.

“We have been following UK government guidelines and working with the rolling advice from the public health authorities and other organizations, and so it is with reluctance that we have taken the decision not to go ahead with this year’s event,” it said.

Next year’s event is scheduled to go ahead as planned, the organizers said.

Some 25,000 people had been due to attend the fair at the Olympia London exhibition and conference center in west London.

Trade magazine The Bookseller reported last week that a number of major UK publishers had pulled out of the event, including Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

British government advice has not included cancellation of major events, but under a contingency plan published on Tuesday, “large-scale gatherings” could be scaled back if cases spiral.

On Tuesday, Disney pulled a planned launch event in London for its new streaming channel, citing international travel difficulties and cancellations by attendees.

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