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Turkey calls off events to stem spread of coronavirus

Turkey joins countries worldwide in postponing, canceling events to prevent spread of virus within its borders

With as yet just one case of coronavirus infection confirmed, Turkey took many steps early on, and is joining the world in suspending or postponing many international events that had been planned for the coming weeks.

The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December, caused global panic, with hundreds of major events across the world being canceled or postponed, and even this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo are in doubt.

Following suit, Turkey has postponed several international events to stem the spread of the virus within its borders.

Ruhsar Pekcan, the Turkish trade minister, on Wednesday announced the postponement of domestic trade fairs from March 16 until the end of April.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, over 118,000 people have been infected globally, with nearly 4,300 deaths.

Most COVID-19 cases so far have been seen in China (nearly 81,000), Italy (over 10,000), and Iran (8,000), said WHO data.

Events in Turkey

Ahead of Pekcan’s announcement, several major events had already been postponed.

Leading industrial fairs WIN EURASIA, set for March in Turkey’s commercial capital Istanbul, and Automechanika, scheduled for April, were pushed back to June.

“Many trade visitors from and outside of Turkey requested the postponement, which Turkey’s industrial associations also support,” Hannover Fairs Turkey, the organizer company of WIN EURASIA and Automechanika, said in a press release.

It noted that air carriers canceled many flights between Turkey, Iran, Italy, and China, and international companies are facing travel and meeting restrictions.

The Antalya Diplomacy Forum, planned to be hosted in March by the Foreign Ministry under the patronage of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was also called off.

The forum announced that it was postponed to a later date, “taking into account the recommendations of the World Health Organization and other relevant authorities.”

The Izmir International Natural Stone and Technologies Fair, the world’s leading natural stone event, was also delayed.

SAHA EXPO, Turkey’s largest defense event, was pushed back from March to November.

The fair’s dates were changed to reduce risks to public health, said the event organizer.

The Turkish Flour Industrialists Federation also put off its 16th International Congress and Exhibition.

Worldwide disruption

Across the globe, hundreds of events were canceled or postponed in many countries amid coronavirus fears.

The Barcelona Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile devices event, set for this February, was canceled.

Well-known global automotive fairs, including expos in Geneva and New York, were also canceled or delayed.

Technology giants such as Google and Facebook also canceled events.

Besides economic events, cultural and sports activities were also impacted by the outbreak, with many matches played without spectators, and even the US’ NBA suspending its season.

Concerts, campaign rallies, and other events were similarly called off.

Turkey is also considering suspending cultural activities and events until the end of April, Nuri Ersoy, the country’s culture and tourism minister, announced on Wednesday.

He also recommended that hotels in Turkey plan the opening of this year’s summer season from the end of April instead of the end of March

Anadolu Agency

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