The London Book Fair has been canceled amid growing concerns around the spread of coronavirus in the U.K.
Organizer Reed Exhibitions — the parent group of MipTV operator Reed Midem — announced Wednesday that the event, which was set to take place March 10-12, has been called off following the “escalation” of COVID-19 in Europe.
The annual event, hosted at London’s Olympia conference centre, hosts 14,000 visitors, and sees 1,600 exhibitors negotiating rights and sales of content across print as well as audio, TV, film and digital channels.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, organizers said: “The effects, actual and projected, of coronavirus are becoming evident across all aspects of our lives here in the U.K. and across the world, with many of our participants facing travel restrictions.”
Reed Exhibitions said it has been following U.K. government guidelines and working with the rolling advice from public health authorities and other organizations, but “with reluctance” has decided to call time on this year’s event.
“We recognize that business has to continue. With this in mind, we will of course support and collaborate with exhibitors and visitors to keep our world moving during this difficult period.”
Reed Exhibitions’ decision to cancel could predict the fate of Cannes TV market MipTV, which is hanging in the balance as the industry awaits a decision from Reed Midem as to whether the embattled spring market will go on amid public health concerns.
Reed Midem said Monday it is “monitoring the situation” after the French government banned indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people as part of efforts to contain the country’s coronavirus outbreak. Last year, 9,500 attended MipTV.
A decision from the business is believed to be imminent.
Coronavirus has so far claimed 85 lives across Europe, with the majority of cases and deaths originating in Italy, where 80 deaths have been reported to date. France has seen four fatalities from the virus, while the U.K. has reported 51 cases, but no deaths.