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RapidPro and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): status quo

Upcoming Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 march the RapidPro fair is supposed to take place. For organiser Mikrocentrum the wellbeing of visitors, exhibitors, co-workers and other relations is of great importance. Because of the Coronavirus organiser Mikrocentrum tried to contact all exhibitors of RapidPro2020 to get their opinion on possibly postponing the fair. Also we consulted the official government statements on this issue (RIVM) [see here] . We would like to share our findings and conclusions.

Update situation on Monday, March 2

On Monday, March 2, the RapidPro organization re-evaluated and monitored the situation regarding Coronavirus in the Netherlands. It has been decided to let RapidPro continue based on the current situation. The recommendations from RIVM and the inventory as it was carried out on Friday 28 February among exhibitors, stakeholders and cooperation partners led us to take this decision. We will of course keep a close eye on the situation around the Coronavirus. We ask people who have recently visited risk areas, people who have or have recently had symptoms of illness, or who may have been in contact with infected people, not to come to RapidPro.

What do we know about the virus at this moment?

Official Dutch sources indicate the following:

  • The virus spreads mainly through small drops while coughing and sneezing, that stay in the air only shortly. Those that have no symptoms seem hardly a threat for contamination.
  • A person typically infects 1 or 2 others (Less than the measles) This number is decreasing because of all precautions now taken.
  • Most infected people suffer only mild influenza like symptoms
  • Almost all casualties are old or already critically ill people
  • On March 2, there are 18 known quarantined infections in the Netherlands

What is the official advise (RIVM) about the Coronavirus?

There is no negative advise on public events at this moment. When organising or visiting events the following precautions are suggested under the statement that they are the same as and valid for all viruses that can cause influenza and a cold:

  • Regularly wash hands with soap
  • Cough and sneeze inside your elbow
  • Use paper towels

In addition to those, Mikrocentrum will advise visitors and exhibitors not to shake hands so people do not need not feel obliged to in networking.

Press conference of Friday 28 February 2020 12.45CET: 

In this press conference about the 1Coronavirus infection in this region, it was explicitly stated that there is no reason to cancel events yet.

Opinions of Rapidpro stakeholders at this moment:

Organiser Mikrocentrum tried to contact all exhibitors of RapidPro2020 to get their opinion on possibly postponing the fair.

  • With about 80% contact was established so opinions could be shared
  • Some exhibitors prefer to postpone the event
  • The grand majority sees no reasons to postpone at this moment, unless there will be a significant increase of contaminations upcoming days

 The number of pre-registered visitors that cancels their online registration at this moment is about 2%, not deviating from previous years.

Those that have recently visited high risk area’s or feel sick:

As organiser we ask and will ask in official communications persons that have visited risk area’s and those (recently) ill not to come to the event.

General recommendations for exhibitors and visitors of RapidPro:

  • Wash or disinfect your hands regularly, especially after sneezing / coughing.
  • When sneezing / coughing, cover your nose and mouth with a paper tissue or sneeze in your elbow. Discard used tissues immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid close contact with persons who show symptoms of illness such as sneezing / coughing, shortness of breath or fever.
  • Avoid shaking hands with other people or wash / disinfect your hands immediately after shaking hands.
  • When showing symptoms of illness and / or when you come from a corona affected area, contact your doctor immediately (by telephone).

We hope we have informed you sufficiently with above information. If any questions remain, do not hesitate to contact us