Events uncertain over COVID-19
Concerns over coronavirus have led to the cancellation of several sporting, cultural and business events but most organisations are planning to proceed with scheduled activities.
Local cancellations include the Institute of Brewing and Distilling’s Asia Pacific 36th Biennial event, which was to be held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday, and a sold-out concert by American band The Pixies, scheduled for Tuesday at the Fremantle Arts Centre.
The Pixies announced on social media today it would postpone its remaining Australian Tour shows in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, citing public health concerns.
The band said rescheduled dates would soon be announced.
In the US, the NBA has suspended the remaining 2019-20 season after a player on the Utah Jazz basketball team tested positive for COVID-19.
The league said it would suspend play after tonight’s games until further notice.
Similar action was considered by the AFL, but boss Gillon McLachlan recently said the league would proceed with 2020 season.
He noted, however, matches could be played without spectators should the federal government suspend mass gatherings.
“Our clubs, players and fans should know that if a response is required, then we will be planned and ready – but again I would remind everyone that we rely on the advice of relevant experts,” Mr McLachlan said.
“The Victorian government has signalled (on March 10) that it is likely large public gatherings will be impacted at some stage in the future and it is prudent that we are prepared and planned.”
He said the AFL would relocate its Shanghai match between Port Adelaide and St Kilda, scheduled for May 31, to Australia.
The AFL also noted clubs were implementing procedures to protect staff and players.
The West Coast Eagles has isolated its players as much as possible, the AFL said, and the club will likely close upcoming training sessions.
Fremantle Dockers are also taking precautions, advising guests ahead of the season launch not to approach players for handshakes, autographs or photos.
Meanwhile, the Global Iron Ore and Steel Forecast Conference, to be held at the Crowne Plaza Perth, will proceed as planned.
However, conference director Alexandra Bennet said the organisation was aware the situation around COVID-19 could change.
“This year our attendees are coming from within Australia, and we have organised a number of presentations via video link from our international based speakers,” she said.
This year’s conference will focus on the impact the virus has on the industry, including to steel raw materials and industry growth.
The Western Australian government has also announced its Anzac Day service at Kings Park, which had around 30,000 attendees last year, could be cancelled.
Health Minister Roger Cook said he would be advised by the chief health officer on a decision.
It comes as the state government announced Western Australians who returned negative test results for COVID-19 would be informed via an SMS notification.
Mr Cook said more than 700 coronavirus tests were being conducted each day and that the SMS system would reduce time spent on phone calls.
The number of coronavirus cases in Australia has increased to 128, nine of which are in WA.
Editor’s Note: Business News is proceeding with its scheduled events, including its 40under40 Awards on Thursday 26 March. This is based on the public advice from the State Government to maintain business as usual, with appropriate precautions.