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IT Show, three other events in Singapore postponed amid virus outbreak

IN light of uncertainties from the novel coronavirus outbreak, the organiser of Singapore's IT Show, Food & Beverage Fair, BuildTech Asia and CARGONOW has postponed the four events (see amendment note) until further notice.

The popular IT Show 2020 was supposed to take place on March 12-15 at the Suntec Convention Centre. The annual event is one of the largest consumer electronics exhibitions in the Republic.

The Food & Beverage Fair, a consumer exhibition that showcases Asian flavours from more than 200 exhibitors and products, had been scheduled for March 19-22 at the Singapore Expo.

Meanwhile, building and construction trade show BuildTech Asia, as well as supply chain and logistics expo CARGONOW had been set to take place on March 11-13 at the Singapore Expo.

The organiser, Sphere Exhibits, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Business Times' (BT) publisher Singapore Press Holdings.

In a media statement on Tuesday, Sphere Exhibits said it is delaying the events after considering the safety and health concerns of the exhibitors, partners and the public.

It will announce the new event dates when they are available.

Last week, Sphere Exhibits told BT that it had lost a handful of exhibitors from China for three events in February and March - including the IT Show and BuildTech Asia - and that some local exhibitors were also considering pulling out. At that time, Sphere Exhibits had yet to make a decision on whether to push back the events and how to compromise in terms of penalties, if any.

At last count, the novel coronavirus outbreak has sickened over 43,000 people worldwide and killed more than 1,000. This puts its fatality rate at about 2.4 per cent, compared to around 10 per cent during Sars, though the latest virus has infected more people than Sars.

Studies on how quickly the virus spreads remain inconclusive, with a commonly used measure - known as the basic reproduction number - being difficult to calculate. The virus was first reported as a string of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan city in late December, before the World Health Organization identified it in early January as a new strain of coronavirus. It has since spread to countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, France, South Korea and Canada.

Amendment note: An earlier version of this story stated that three events have been postponed instead of four. Sphere Exhibits has since clarified that BuildTech Asia and CARGONOW are separate events, and the article above has been revised to reflect this.