World Ag Expo taking precautions as coronavirus cases rise worldwide


TULARE, California (KSEE) – The 2020 world Ag Expo takes over Tulare County this week.

“It’s busy, as we can hear, it’s busy out here today,” said Jennifer Fawks, marketing manager for this year’s show. “It’s the last day of set-up, everything is getting set in place.”

People come from all over the world to attend the event. Event organizers say the recent novel coronavirus threat has had an impact on its international travelers.

“We did have folks that had signed up for exhibitor booths and they were from China,” Fawkes said. “Unfortunately because of the travel ban, our Chinese exhibitors did have to drop out.”

Fawks says it was just six Chinese exhibitors – out of the more than 1400 scheduled to attend.

On Monday, the World Health Organization confirmed over 40,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in China and 909 deaths. Outside China, 319 cases have been confirmed across 24 other countries.

Colin Hassard works for Invest Northern Ireland. He traveled in for the expo on Sunday and said that he and his co-workers saw coronavirus fears first-hand, but are not letting it get to them.

“In the airport you certainly see a lot more people wearing facemasks,” Hassard said. “Going through customs we were asked if we had been to China in the last 14 days. I know it is a big deal, but we don’t want to be too much of a scaremonger about it or worry overly, so we’re fairly relaxed and we’re pleased to be here.”

Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency was passing out information on safety precautions and brought in 14 hand sanitation stations to be placed throughout the event space.

“It’s a great preventative measure for everyone who’s not trying to get ill from anything,” said the agency’s Tammie Weyker. “You want to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer with more than 60 % alcohol to make sure you’re getting rid of that bacteria.”

Expo staff have also put up signs reminding people that washing your hands is the number one preventative measure they can take.

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