by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by BLOOMBERG
SOME companies have cancelled or postponed their events, while others are measuring the impact of the coronavirus as Malaysia reported the 10th case and death toll across the globe rose to more than 420 people.
The flu outbreak has spread to more than 27 countries and more than 20,000 confirmed cases were reported as of yesterday’s evening. Malaysia reported the first local to be infected with the virus.
Some 107 Malaysians trapped in Wuhan, the ground-zero of the outbreak, arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport early yesterday morning. Two individuals on the mercy flight from Wuhan failed the health screenings and were sent to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
The rest were sent to the Higher Education Leadership Academy in Bandar Enstek, Nilai, Negri Sembilan, under tight security to undergo their 14-day quarantine.
But the flu scare had forced several corporate events, including launches and corporate Chinese New Year celebrations, to be cancelled.
“Two of our clients have cancelled their events that are supposed to be held on Feb 28. The overall economic slowdown is already painful and when we are about to start the year, this happens,” said Tone Music Sdn Bhd MD Mohd Faddli Atan.
“Most clients are postponing their event until at least the third quarter (3Q). That will leave us with six months of uncertainty,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
Mohd Faddli said many companies had issued circulars, reminding their staff to avoid any form of assembly that could expose them to large public gatherings.
“For us, it looks like at least until the 3Q when we will see some kind of improvement and that is if the pandemic is under control,” he said.
Abroad, many events have also been cancelled to prevent the spread of the virus.
Neighbouring Singapore cancelled an international aviation conference planned in conjunction with the Singapore Airshow next week as the number of cases in the island republic swell.
The Singapore Airshow (picture), one of the biggest in the region, would continue. Singapore had reported 24 cases of coronavirus infection as of yesterday.
Many K-pop artistes had also postponed their tours scheduled throughout Asia as fear of the outbreak gripped countries in the region.
The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions industry in Malaysia had been cautious, especially with the arrival of delegates from regions or countries affected with the coronavirus outbreak, said Evenesis CEO and founder Yusno Yunos.
“I have yet to see any conferences or exhibitions that have been cancelled at the moment, but the organisers are on the alert to decide whether to continue, delay or cancel their events this year,” he told TMR.
The homegrown event management system provider said although business is as usual, other measures will be considered if the situation worsens.
Despite the scare, malls and cinemas are still operating as usual. Popular venues which draw big crowds continue to operate.
The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre representative told TMR its operation continues as planned based on the schedule, but it is monitoring the situation closely and will refer to updates and directives from the Ministry of Health.