Hong Kong's annual Book Fair will not take place this year as a rapid surge in coronavirus cases forced the organiser to call off the postponed December event and reschedule for 2021.
The Trade Development Council said exhibitors and supporters had agreed at a meeting on Monday that there was no way the fair could open on December 16 as planned, with public health the priority. It had initially been due to take place in July.
The fair typically draws tens of thousands of people to the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. It will now next take place in its usual July date next year.
"With the safety of the public and exhibitors being the organiser’s top priority, and considering that indoor mass gatherings should be avoided, it was agreed unanimously by the HKTDC and supporting organisations that there would be significant risk should the Book Fair be held in December, even with various precautionary measures being put in place," the council said in a statement.
The council said exhibitors would receive a full refund, while a discount on the construction of booths would roll over to the next fair.
It said a new Book Fair Online section had been introduced to the event's website and mobile app, showcasing exhibitors' books and products.
"The HKTDC expresses its sincere gratitude to the public, supporting organisations, exhibitors and partners for their support for the Book Fair and understanding regarding the decision to reschedule the event," the statement added.
Hong Kong report 73 cases of Covid-19 on Monday, continuing a rising trend as the number of patients linked to a cluster around dance studios continued to grow.
Virus upsurge closes chapter on Book Fair hopes
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