By Maria Lenhart
A SPECIAL SECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY MEETING PROFESSIONALS INTERNATIONAL
With the travel industry reeling from the effects of the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has deemed a global health emergency, how concerned should meeting professionals be about its implications for upcoming events?
As of Feb. 2, there are more than 14,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in China, including 304 deaths. Outside of China, there are more than 150 confirmed cases, including nine in the U.S., with one fatality (in the Philippines).
Dozens of commercial carriers have cut back or suspended flights to China, and major hotel chains—including Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and InterContinental—have said they will allow reservations to be cancelled free of charge by Chinese travelers or people who had planned to visit China. Companies such as Google and Facebook have banned travel to the country, while international retailers such as Starbucks and Apple have shut stores there.
The U.S. government announced Friday that it will impose a 14-day travel ban on all visitors from China, regardless of their nationality. U.S. citizens arriving from Wuhan, where the outbreak is centered, will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine on arrival, while those traveling any other parts of China will face screening and monitoring.