Concerns over the spread of the coronavirus has prompted Chinese exhibitors to drop out of the upcoming 2020 CinemaCon in Las Vegas. According to The Wrap, approximately 24 attendees from various Chinese companies have canceled their planned convention attendance due to travel bans across Asia that have been put in place in response to the pandemic which has, to date, claimed nearly 3000 lives.
According to a memo sent to members by the National Organization of Theater Owners (NATO) which produces CinemaCon, the event will continue as scheduled from March 30 to April 2 though officials will continue to monitor the situation as well as advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and other relevant agencies such as the World Health Organization and Las Vegas health officials.
CinemaCon is just the latest to be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. On Tuesday, comics writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads took to social media to make a change in their fan policies ahead of major conventions such as C2E2. King and Gerads, along with Doc Shaner and Clay Mann, will not be permitting touching of any kind with fans over the next few weeks -- including handshakes and fist bumps -- due to the growing illness threat. This came after director of the CDCs National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease Dr. Nancy Messonnier warned that the agency expected to see the coronavirus illness -- named COVID-19 -- spread in the United States as a matter of when, not if.
"We expect we will see community spread in this country," Dr. Messonnier said. "It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness."
COVID-19 was first reported from Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019. As of the time of this article's writing there have been 81,380 confirmed cases of the disease with nearly 3000 deaths attributed to it. While the outbreak has thus far largely been centered in China, additional regions, such as Italy and Korea, are seeing spikes in outbreak. A spike of cases in Italy is, in part, responsible for the halting of production on Mission: Impossible 7 earlier this week after the government in Venice put a halt to all public gatherings as a response to the disease. Italy currently has the highest number of reported cases outside of China, Japan, and Korea.