CommercialMarch 3, 2020

Is the world going into lockdown? How the coronavirus is triggering event cancellations

Since the first cases were detected at the end of 2019, the coronavirus (or Covid-19) is now present in more than 40 countries, with more than 81,259 confirmed cases. While China, South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy are amongst those most heavily affected, the infection has also affected the UK, US, Australia, France and many more.

The World Health Organisation stated on 25 February that it’s currently too early to call a pandemic, but countries must prepare for the possibility of it becoming so. The virus is spread easily from person to person so steps need to be made to contain this.

Speculation is rife surrounding how the coronavirus will impact major events worldwide. While most organisers are hoping for theirs to go ahead as planned, we’ve already seen some significant changes to industry and sporting events across the globe.

MWC 2020
The world’s largest exhibition for the mobile phone industry, Mobile World Congress (MWC), was due to take place in Barcelona between the 24-27 February. However, due to concerns following the coronavirus outbreak, the organisers decided it was impossible to hold the event. Prior to this, high-profile exhibitors had already pulled out, including Facebook, LG, Nokia and Sony. 

Other cancelled events include:

  • Chinese Grand Prix
  • Singapore and Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournaments
  • IBTM Asia Pacific
  • Tokyo and Hong Kong Marathon & Nagoya Women’s Marathon
  • Cisco Live
  • Alpine World Cup

Alongside these major cancellations, a whole host of smaller events have been cancelled, including exhibitions, fashion shows, networking events and even exams.

Tokyo Olympic Games 
While the organisers are still proceeding with the intention to go ahead as planned, concerns are mounting following new cases of the virus confirmed in Japan. Even though the games are scheduled for the 24th July, it appears that a concrete decision will not be made until the end of May. A senior official of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that if it was decided that it was too dangerous to go ahead with the Games, there would likely be an outright cancellation rather than a postponement or relocation.  

How the coronavirus could affect you 
While the risk of your business or event being forced to close due to the coronavirus as it stands is low, the knock-on effects could still pose a risk. If your business relies on international supply chains, you may find you experience a shortage of parts/products made in China although there haven’t yet been any additional measures introduced toward imported goods from China.

If you or your employees are required to travel abroad for work, you may find that some flights are cancelled or restricted. Or your employees may simply be wary about travelling to an at-risk area. If you do cancel a trip due to the virus, you could struggle to claim it back on your travel insurance unless it has been flagged by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Finally, if an employee has travelled abroad and has been advised to self-isolate – or indeed if they have been quarantined – you may find this affects the day-to-day running of your business. While this situation has only affected a handful of the UK population at present, if the situation in the UK escalates, it helps to have a plan in place.

To talk through any concerns you may have regarding your insurance, whether it’s related to virus outbreaks, the current economic climate or simply just changes within your business, get in touch with The Insurance Centre. Our friendly team can help with both reviewing your existing cover or arranging more suitable and competitive cover to better meet your business requirements. Just call us on 01524 848506.