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Coronavirus: ABU Takes “Necessary Precautions” for DBS 2020 (UPDATED)

Organizers say they are putting in place special provisions for Kuala Lumpur event

This is a developing story.

Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Director of Technology & Innovation Ahmed Nadeem said in a statement that, despite the Coronavirus outbreak, the organization plans to go ahead with DBS 2020.

Nadeem reassured industry professionals the union is “monitoring the situation and following guidelines from local authorities and agencies.” He added that it is “taking all necessary safety precautions to create a safe environment for all concerned.”


A few of the actions the organization is applying include working closely with Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur to ensure specific safety measures; increased disinfection across all high-volume touch points (e.g. catering areas, surfaces, handrails, WCs, entrances/exits, public touch-screens); availability of hand sanitizer around the event and main entry-exit points; and signage onsite reminding attendees of hygiene recommendations.

In addition, he emphasized that organizers would implement a “microphone disinfecting and change protocol” for all speakers. They are also encouraging a “no-handshake policy” for attendees and will provide advice to exhibitors on effective cleaning and disinfection of surfaces within their stands as a means of prevention.

Nadeem also pointed out that the hotel has devised a special protocol for anyone feeling unwell and that the hotel’s chief safety officer will be on hand to provide assistance to anyone who needs medical attention.

“We will continue to monitor the situation following the guidelines from local authorities and take the necessary precautions for the safety of everyone involved,” he said. “While we note that a few exhibitors and participants have informed us that they will not be able to join due to travel restrictions and advisories, we highly appreciate their support and continued partnership.”

According to the ABU, the following sponsors/exhibitors have withdrawn from the event for health and safety reasons: DVB, Elevate Broadcast, Eutelsat, Sony, LS telcom, Rohde & Schwarz, LYNX-Technik and China Broadcasting.

Updated Feb. 18:

The ABU’s Geraldine Peters-Williams told Radio World today: “As it stands, the ABU is going ahead with DBS 2020.”

However, Peters-Williams noted the exhibit floor plan is being revised to reflect that several more companies have pulled out. Two weeks before the event, Etere, Mirack Technologies, Leader Electronics, IABM, Content + Technology and JAA Systems have joined the list of sponsors and exhibitors who have decided not to participate in the event in light of the ongoing COVID-19 advisory.

The ABU also noted that the conference program and and workshop schedule remains a “work in progress.”

The ABU’s decision to forge ahead is significant as Barcelona-based Mobile World Congress 2020 was cancelled less than a week ahead of the show, due to concerns from The GSM Association, which hosts the conference, Tech Radar reported.

The National Association of Broadcasters is also monitoring the situation ahead of its annual NAB Show event, scheduled for April in Las Vegas.