Even though the WHO is still confident in the approach of China’s government, in recent days, a number of European airlines, including Lufthansa, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Air France and KLM, have announced the suspension or reduction of the number of domestic flights to and from multiple cities in mainland China. As the Fruit Logistica in Berlin is next week, a lot of Chinese companies have difficulties with finding available flights to Europe. In the last few days flights have already been canceled, after the declaration of the WHO it appears that more flights have been canceled.
Originally, there were about 90 Chinese companies registered for Fruit Logistica. FreshPlaza contacted several Chinese exhibitors, it seems that some of the exhibitors are not able to attend. In general, most companies were very positive about attending, they did not cancel due to the virus. Most companies canceled because they could not find another flight to Europe. For now, it is confirmed that one-third of the companies will not attend, and another one-third will definitely attend, and the remaining third have not confirmed anything yet.
Some companies have automatically canceled their participation plans in consideration of epidemic prevention. A potato net bag supplier from Ningbo said, "In this case, I think it ’s better not to go thus reducing the chance of infection. There is not really a solution to this problem. We are negotiating with the exhibition to see if we can have some compensation."
According to another exporter: "In general, the Chinese government has taken a lot of prevention measures and the people are actively cooperating. We are confident that the epidemic will be under control as soon as possible, but many people are helpless about the epidemic situation. There is panic about the spread at the event, and we believe that even if we can participate in the exhibition on time, the effect of the exhibition will not be very good, so we decided not to pass. "
The epidemic not only affected the travel plans of Chinese exhibitors, but also affected the company's business. Export companies generally said, "This epidemic has had a huge impact on companies. Although there have been recent foreign orders, due to the government's extended holidays, the shortage of workers has also forced us to extend the delivery time." Another ginger exporter said, "We had three containers out before January 15th, but now we have to stop processing and cannot ship on time."
On the 31st of January, the WHO (World Health Organisation) declared the coronavirus as a global health emergency. As Mr. Dr. Tedros from WHO said on Twitter: “Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it. Let me be clear: this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, WHO continues to have confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak.”