World Ag Expo organizers are taking precautions against any exposure to the deadly coronavirus as a handful of Chinese entrants were prevented from making the trip.
Six exhibitors from China were unable to attend the Tulare, Calif., farm show Feb. 11-13 because of a temporary U.S. travel ban on foreign nationals who have been in China within the last 14 days, KSEE-TV in Fresno reported.
President Donald Trump imposed the ban in late January amid rising fears of the new virus that originated in Wuhan, China.
There are more than 1,400 total exhibitors at the expo, according to organizers.
The virus has been a topic of discussion among attendees at this week’s farm show, as it has fueled a sharp rise in prices in China that will not only hurt consumption but could push up prices globally.
The fallout is expected to impact foreign companies with production or sales in China, and could lead to rising prices for consumer goods in the U.S. and elsewhere if factories can’t restart soon, according to Bloomberg News.
Farmers feel the pain
Chinese farmers are feeling the pain as authorities have ordered shutdowns and road blockages in various cities and areas in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, the wire service reports.
World Ag Expo representatives have fielded numerous questions from reporters this week about the virus’ impact on the show after announcing in late January that it would be taking precautions.
“The health and safety of everyone at our show is our top priority,” said Jerry Sinift, CEO of the International Agri-Center. “We’re working with the right agencies to stay up-to-date on the status of coronavirus and how we can prevent the spread.”
Show organizers worked with local, state and federal officials to monitor the situation and develop a plan on the show grounds, they said in a press release. No government entity has suggested a change to the planned schedule.
"The HHSA Public Health branch is in close contact with the World Ag Expo in regards to health precautions all travelers and attendees need to be aware of,” Tulare County Health Officer Karen Haught said. “This includes precautions everyone should take at all times as this is also flu season. Precautions include hand washing, covering coughs, staying home if ill, and contacting a physician if symptoms arise. Travelers who become ill should contact the local health department where they are staying.”
The Tulare County Health department website recommended the following precautions to guard against coronavirus, according to the release:
- Avoid contact with sick individuals
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- Get a flu shot
Organizers also installed more hand-washing stations throughout the grounds, they said. For coronavirus updates, visit http://bit.ly/TCCoronaUpdate.