COVID-19: MWC and latest official numbers

The number of patients in England to have tested positive for coronavirus remains at 9, as it has been for almost a week. According to the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, at 16th February, a total of 3,109 people have been tested for the virus.

And as reports surface of the first death from the virus in France, official World Health Organisation data reports 51,857 laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus globally, of which 1,278 were confirmed in the previous 24 hours. The vast majority (1,121) of these were in China.

UK Chief Medical Officers continue to advise anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and who is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.

DHSC is are asking people to take “simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible” – just as they would with the ‘flu.

And, as GSMA's major event, Mobile World Congress, is hit by the virus, contingency practice leader at CFC Underwriting, Matt Helm event organisers must always put the safety and well-being of their attendees ahead of any other considerations.

"While I’m not familiar with the insurance held by the GSMA, there are many event cancellation policies, like CFC’s, which can provide cover as a response to communicable diseases. In most cases this is triggered by the forced closure of the event by the authorities. This type of cover is usually offered as an endorsement to a standard policy and brokers should consider whether any specific diseases are excluded, as is likely to be the case after an outbreak such as we are currently experiencing. Another add-on which can work alongside a communicable disease extension is enforced reduced attendance cover. This offers event organisations additional protection against a fall in income as a result of a significant reduction in attendance attributable to a single cause – for example, the coronavirus outbreak."

While most event organisers have a mandate to purchase special event liability, many still consider event cancellation cover as optional, which creates a significant exposure.

"Cancellation insurance is there to provide financial relief if an event is cancelled for reasons outside of the organisers' control," Helm adds, "whether a health concern like coronavirus, weather (one of the most common reasons for cancellation of outdoor events), threats of terrorism or non-appearance of key acts. Event cancellation insurance can also offer cover for loss mitigation – any extra costs incurred while ensuring the event can go on."

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