Coronavirus – the situation on 2 March and what to do

No business warrants risking lives – even your own

interpack in Dusseldorf
Interpack 2021 scheduled to be held in Dusseldorf in February is finally being called off on 3 December 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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.


  1. 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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