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China State Council guidelines clear way to restart exhibitions and conferences

China’s State Council has issued, 8 May, new guidelines for Covid-19 prevention that give the go-ahead to hold conferences and exhibitions again.

The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of China’s State Council published the new guidelines on its official government website, saying the move “intends to prevent imported cases and domestic resurgence, ensure rapid response to an epidemic outbreak, provide effective treatment, and ensure overall recovery of the social and economic order”.

The document highlighted prevention as the primary task and stressed the importance of face masks and hygiene. It also called for solid implementation of early detection, rapid handling, accurate control, and effective treatment measures.

The document went on: “With strict prevention measures in place, shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants should be all opened… and indoor areas and closed entertainment places, such as libraries and cinemas will be allowed to hold conferences and exhibitions if necessary”.

Meanwhile, the authorities said epidemic prevention measures should be intensified in medical institutions, schools and residential communities, adding that early diagnosis and daily registration and reporting were still necessary,.

The testing range should be further expanded, the document added, with key groups, such as close contacts of confirmed cases and people entering China should all be tested.  The qualification is likely to mean no quick return for international events but it does give a green light to national MICE events.

Big data should play a more important role, the circular said. The national ‘health code’ network should be popularised and testing results should be shared online in a timely manner. The exhibition held in Hunan last week used the health code system to pre-register and screen over 60,000 visitors to the Auto Show over six days.

UFI’s Regional Manager for Asia/Pacific Mark Cochrane, welcomed the move from China’s government, commenting: “In essence, this means that MICE events will be able to go ahead as necessary all across China. The document does not spell out specific terms and conditions for this. As usual here, this means that the regions and cities will be in charge of the activities under their respective jurisdiction.”

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