Alarm over the novel coronavirus outbreak has led to panic-buying of unlikely hot commodities, from toilet paper and instant noodles to soap and even condoms, which people have been using as makeshift finger protectors — safe texts and all that.
Bosses at one US aerospace company were befuddled when they arrived at their corporate booth on Thursday morning to find it had been liberated of hand sanitizers. Everything else — aircraft models, TV sets and branded coat pins—was left untouched.
The priorities at Asia’s flagship aviation event were a far cry from normal. Many companies didn’t even show up because of concern over the virus, which has infected more than 60,000 people and killed 1,380, primarily in China.
Attendance was thin and the executives who did attend headed for the door soon after finishing their meetings. The organisers advised attendees to avoid hand contact, leading to awkward greetings and elbow bumps.
Boeing, which is bedeviled with the 737 MAX grounding and failed to sign any orders at all in January, didn’t announce any deals. Neither did Airbus, beyond its helicopter unit selling some trainer aircraft to the Thai military. A highlight of the show was PNG Air ordering three ATR 42-600S aircraft.
Last year’s Paris Air Show heralded 610 commitments for new planes between Boeing and Airbus alone.
A year earlier in Farnborough there were almost 1,000 orders worth $141 billion.
By Thursday afternoon, the third day of the Singapore show, many company booths were empty. Some had closed shop after the first day. At least one firm said executives who came to the event from overseas willhave to go through self-quarantine
No ‘plan B’ for Olympics
Tokyo Olympic organisers and the International Olympic Committee said on Friday there is no “plan B” for the 2020 Games, which open in just over five months and have been jolted by the outbreak of a virus in neighbouring China.
Third Indian crew on board cruise tests positive
Meanwhile, a third Indian crew on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Japan said on Friday as authorities confirmed that 218 people have been infected with the deadly virus on the quarantined ship. American experts are preparing to travel to China to investigate the outbreak and are waiting for final clearance from the Chinese government. China said earlier that it welcomes US participation in a joint mission with the WHO.