Taipei Int’l Book Exhibition postponed over virus fears

Close to 50 foreign authors are expected to attend the Taipei International Book Exhibition in February to promote their books, the Taipei Book Fair Foundation said Tuesday.(NOWnews)
Close to 50 foreign authors are expected to attend the Taipei International Book Exhibition in February to promote their books, the Taipei Book Fair Foundation said Tuesday.(NOWnews)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — The Ministry of Culture (文化部) on Thursday decided to postpone one of the greatest book festivals in Taiwan, the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE, 台北國際書展), as a preventative measure to contain the spreading of the novel coronavirus.

Originally slated on Feb. 4-9, the annual book fair will be postponed to May 7 to 12, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The decision came after an emergency meeting convened by the ministry with the event organizers, the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, and exhibitors last night on the fate of the highly anticipated event.

Last year, the exhibition attracted more than 580,000 participants, marking it one of the most popular book festivals in Taiwan. This year organizers had expected to exceed that number. The event’s Facebook page has garnered more than 37,000 followers.

Task Group to Handle Postponement Arrangements

According to the Ministry of Culture, the quality and participation of the book fair were the main concerns of the organizers and exhibitors. Some international exhibitors had already canceled their trips due to the novel virus outbreak, the statement read.

The ministry and the Taipei Book Fair Foundation will form a task group to handle issues with exhibitors and visitors who have already bought tickets to the fair and make sure that postponement arrangements are made accordingly.

Comics and Animation Festival to Take Place

Meanwhile, the Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival, a three-day annual event that saw more than 100,000 visitors on day one last year, will take place as planned from tomorrow through Sunday.

Visitors’ temperatures will be taken at the entrances of the festival, and the venue will be disinfected daily, The Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association (中華動漫出版同業協) Secretary General Kao Shu-chin (高世椿) told The China Post.

When asked about reports that patients don’t always show symptoms, Kao said that their decision to go ahead with the event “holds up” because “it is based on the guidance of CDC that there is currently no mass contagion in Taiwan.”

Kao said that they repeatedly remind visitors to wear face masks but they are “not allowed by law to force participants to do so.”

The CDC continued to warn Taiwanese to avoid crowded areas, wear face masks in public, and frequently wash hands.

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