Coronavirus – the situation on 2 March and what to do

No business warrants risking lives – even your own

interpack in Dusseldorf is scheduled to take place from 7 to 13 May 2020
interpack in Dusseldorf is scheduled to take place from 7 to 13 May 2020

As I write this on the morning of 2 March 2019, the site reveals that Coronavirus cases have reached 89,081; deaths 3,117 (of which 48 are the new deaths); and, recovered 45,148. This means that the still-active cases are 40,876. Of these active cases, 7,375 are either serious or critical.

The new cases reported this morning are 693, including 202 in China, 476 in South Korea, 12 in the USA, 1 in Thailand, and 2 in Indonesia. On the worldometers chart, there are no known new cases in Italy. Of the 256 cases in Japan, there have been 7 deaths. (This excludes the 705 cases and 7 deaths emanating from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.)

Out of the recovered 45,148 cased, 16 were in Vietnam – all recovered and no active cases. In Russia, there were 2 – all recovered and no active cases. In Cambodia, there was 1 case, recovered, and no active cases. In India, there were 3 cases all in Kerala – all recovered and no active cases. In Nepal, there was 1 case – which has recovered and no active cases. In Sri Lanka, there was 1 case – recovered and no active cases. In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Mauritius, there have been zero cases, so far.

South Asia seems to have very few or even negligible cases and full recoveries so far. Although we have read reports of caution and action taken by the Indian government for rapid screening, we remain both skeptical and encouraged by this success or luck. This is remarkable given the high number of Indians and South Asians studying in China and also considering a large number of Indian crew numbers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

While the three Indian cases recognized have recovered, there is a fourth patient in Kerala who died but tested negative for the Coronavirus. One must keep this case in mind. There is the danger of under-reporting from around the world, especially the US, where they have not had enough test kits so far, and only 500 tests have been performed as of 1 March 2020.

Our comments – a positive prognosis

The trends indicate that the number of new Coronavirus cases being recognized is slowing down. If you read this on 12 March 2020 and the total identified cases are below 96,000 (89,901 on 2 March), then the worst may be over. If on 12 March 2020, the total recognized Coronavirus cases are below 95,000, then the worst is likely to be over.

Are the trade fairs safe to participate in?

With several book fairs like Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the Livre Paris Book Fair and the London Book Fair, Fespa in Madrid, Interpack, and Drupa in Dusseldorf coming up, the situation has become difficult for organizers, exhibitors and visitors. Some like Bologna CBF in Northern Italy, which has been greatly affected by the Coronavirus have already been postponed by a month. The organizers of the London Book Fair from 10 to 12 March have not as of 1 March, postponed the event. The Livre Paris Book Fair from 20 to 23 March at which India is the country partner, has also not yet announced any postponement although it is likely to be postponed.

We think 12 March 2020 is a day by which the position of the Coronavirus becoming either a pandemic or subsiding may become more apparent. Nevertheless, traveling to any industry event is likely to have some risk that individuals and companies will have to assess. 

Events like Metpack and Interpack in the first half of May 2020 that have many exhibitors from South Korea, China, and Italy could be hit in terms of exhibitors being unable to participate for various reasons. Drupa, which is the second half of June, also has significant exhibitors from these countries.

If on 12 March 2020, the number of active cases continues to decline to 32,000 (from 40,876 on the morning of 2 March), then most likely, the worst is over. Our strictly amateur guess is that the risk of travel, in this case, will come down by 6 or 7 April 2020.

If the downward trend continues provably, a further guess is that the risk of travel to Metpack and Interpack in the first half of May will decline but will still be there. However, all travel will remain risky. If both the day to day evidence and the trends hold for the decline in new and active cases by 6 or 7 April, then it should be a bit safer to travel 56 days after 6 April, that is on 1 June, given that the incubation period for the virus is from 2 to 14 days.

Please understand that this is the guesswork of an amateur with no understanding of epidemiology, vectors, or pandemics. It is a back of the envelope exercise. Every company and individual must undertake a decision in consultation with their doctor and their family—no business warrants risking lives, whether those of your employees, your own or other strangers to whom you may be unwittingly spreading this virus with a high fatality rate.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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  1. 3 March 2020 – Coronavirus cases have reached 91,308 from the 89,081 cases yesterday; the reported or attributed to Coronavirus deaths seem to have slightly risen to 3120 from yesterday’s number of deaths 3,117. Yesterday’s number of recovered was 45,148 and this morning’s number is 48,256. Yesterday’s still-active cases were 40,876 and today’s number is given as 39,932. Of these, the active cases have declined in this morning’s count to 7,098, from 7,375 yesterday. Source: .

    As of 4 March 2020, the number of cases in India has risen by 3, to 6 cases, of which three as previously reported, have recovered.

    Last night came news of the Livre Paris Book Fair being canceled. This morning the news has come that the Prowein fair in Dusseldorf scheduled from 15 to 17 March has been postponed. We still maintain that one level of clarity for decision making for travel and participation in this year’s fair will come on 12 March 2020.

    Now on the morning of 6 March 2020 the cases have risen to 98,424 while the deaths have gone up to 3,386. The active cases have come down to 39,402 which is a decline over the past five days by about 1,500 cases.


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