Coronavirus threat a concern for Auto Expo 2020

by Amaan Ahmed, Autocar India 30 Jan 2020

File photo of the Auto Expo Motor Show at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida

Having made its way past an unprecedented industry slowdown and having avoided being delayed by an entire year, Auto Expo 2020 is almost upon us. But with less than a week to go for the first day of the show, a new (and quite serious) challenge has emerged in the form of concerns over the deadly Coronavirus that originated in China, which has already claimed over 130 lives.

This year’s Expo is set to feature at least three prominent names from China – Great Wall Motors (GWM), Chinese state-owned First Automobile Works’ Haima Automobile, and commercial vehicle manufacturer Build Your Dreams (BYD). Senior executives from all companies are expected to fly in for the biennial motor show, but with the number of people diagnosed with the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) in China increasing every day, the threat has raised concerns as the motor show is set to feature heavy Chinese presence.

The nCoV epidemic, which broke out in Wuhan, Hubei Province, has since spread to at least 15 other countries. Originally thought to be a virus passed on by animals to humans, nCoV has also latched on to those who have been in contact with an infected person, and even those who haven’t travelled to China.

India’s Union health ministry issued an advisory on Wednesday, asking citizens to avoid any non-essential travel to China at this time.

Responding to concerns over nCoV stemming from the heavy Chinese presence at this year’s Auto Expo, Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM, said, “We, as SIAM, have gone through the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health and are taking adequate precautions at the venue of the Auto Expo - The Motor Show”.

There will also be several Chinese participants at the Components Expo, which will be held at Pragati Maidan from February 6-9. Addressing similar concerns for the Components Expo, Vinnie Mehta, director general, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), said, “As of now, everything is going as is but as an added precaution, we’re going to have added medical facilities at Pragati Maidan. That apart, we will follow government advisory. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued an advisory to the Indian Embassy in China and we will follow that. As on date, there's no concern. So far there is little evidence of significant human-human transfer of the Coronavirus. According to a risk assessment report of the WHO, risk for global pandemic of the Coronavirus is stated to be low.”

Auto Expo 2020 Motor Show will be held at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh and will open its doors to the public on February 7 and will go on till February 12. The Auto Expo Components Show will be held at the Pragati Maidan from February 6-9.