Following the German government’s decision that all large-scale events in the country are forbidden from taking place until at least 31 August, what does this mean for InnoTrans 2020?
With case numbers plateauing in Germany and the number of active cases going down, there is reason for optimism in the country, though a ‘fragile’ optimism as Chancellor Merkel called it during the press conference on Wednesday, 15 April.
The first measures to loosen restrictions are to begin in May with more shops being allowed to open and some students being allowed to return to school – particularly those who are sitting their final exams.
Currently, Ms Merkel said, one sick person was infecting one healthy person and at this rate the virus remained manageable. Should that slip to an infection rate of 1.1 or 1.2 or worse, then she stressed the healthcare system would become over-strained. Large events in particular have proven to be especially dangerous with regard to coronavirus as a sick person can infect a large number of healthy individuals and such events make it impossible to implement any kind of tracing and isolation policy.
Due to the fragility of the current successes Ms Merkel said it was imperative to move slowly, slowly and to check at every step of the way how the new loosening up was affecting the health of the nation. It therefore seems unlikely, with all large-scale events banned until at least the end of August, that InnoTrans, which attracts hundreds of thousands from all over the world, will go ahead. And naturally, the event itself is just the tip of the iceberg – all the exhibitors and the show organisers must spend months planning, which is not possible when the circumstances are this uncertain.
Railway-News spoke with InnoTrans spokesperson Tim Wegner, who said that based on the decision to ban all major events until 31 August it would work closely with the relevant health authorities and examine under what conditions trade fairs and congresses could take place at Messe Berlin from autumn 2020 onwards. There would be a presentation in early May about the potential scenarios on how events at Berlin Messe could take place or whether they would have to be postponed.
In the meantime, Chancellor Merkel asked the people of Germany to take it upon themselves to wear masks out in public, especially, she said, on public transport where it is unavoidable for people to come into close proximity with each other. The German government will make further announcements on how the country will respond to coronavirus on 30 April.
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