SHANGHAI – China’s major annual auto show, initially slated for late April in Beijing, has been rescheduled to begin in late September because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Guangzhou auto show, another leading industry event, is still scheduled for November.
Cluster virus infections are still popping up sporadically in China, so how will these major events be organized?
The Chinese government's handling of its two most important annual political meetings in Beijing this week may offer some clues.
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to the Chinese government, kicked off its annual session Thursday. The National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, will open its annual meeting Friday.
Some 5,200 delegates, including 111 from the central province of Hubei -- the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak -- arrived in Beijing in the past few days for the two meetings, according to official Chinese media.
To minimize infection, the two meetings were postponed from early March and their duration cut to a week from 10 days in previous years.
Chinese media reports say a slew of other measures have been taken to ensure a safe environment for participants. They include:
- Delegates from Chinese provinces were required to be tested locally, and only those with negative results were allowed to attend the two meetings in Beijing.
- All delegates were required to stay in designated hotels, which are frequently sanitized and fitted with extra ventilation such as high-power fans in public spaces.
- Except for speakers, meeting attendants must wear face masks.
- Meeting venues are accessible only to Beijing-based Chinese media outlets and foreign journalists stationed in the city.
- Some press conferences will be held online; journalists can attend offline briefings, but they need to wear face masks and sit 1 meter away from each other.
Unless the coronavirus magically disappears or a vaccine is approved in record time, similar measures are likely to be adopted by organizers of the Beijing and Guangzhou auto shows.
The Beijing show is rescheduled for Sept. 26 through Oct. 5, while the Guangzhou show will run Nov. 20-29.
If virus infections in China, which have been kept under control since mid-March, increase, it won’t be surprising to see the two shows shortened as well.