Hysterical media coverage of the coronavirus outbreak is causing “serious problems to the Italian economy,” the Italian Marine Industry Association (IMIA) has claimed.
A statement released by the IMIA has called on the “Italian and international media” to end its “unjustified hysteria”, warning it is resulting in “major damage to the nation’s image.”
The Italian shipbuilding industry remains unaffected, the body said. It downplayed the danger of the the country’s coronavirus outbreak, which is contained in “an area of small municipalities in Lombardy and Veneto Regions that have been isolated.”
“As for the marine industry, it is important to underline that the Made in Italy production continues without any problem and that orders are definitely guaranteed,” the statement said.
The statement comes after a number of boats shows were forced to reschedule to prevent further spread of the virus.
Since December 2019, an outbreak of coronavirus in China has infected more than 80,000 people. The new strand of the virus is known as COVID-19 and has seen cases confirmed in 33 countries around the world.
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus is part of a family of illness-causing viruses that affect both animals and humans. MERS and SARS are both caused by coronavirus strains. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 has symptoms including "fever, tiredness, and dry cough", although some individuals may not experience any symptoms at all. WHO estimates that 80% of cases ‘recover from the disease without needing special treatment’. WHO further identified that ‘older people, and those with underlying medical problems’ are more likely to be severely affected by the disease.
How is coronavirus impacting the yachting industry?
In order to prevent the further spread of the disease, a number of boat shows have been postponed or cancelled.
This includes the Japan International Boat Show, which has been cancelled, as well as the Taiwan International Boat Show, the Dubai International Boat Show and the Singapore Yacht Show which have all been pushed back.
Singapore Yacht Show founder, Andy Treadwell, said the decision was made "to limit further spread of the virus."
How can you avoid catching coronavirus?
If you’re planning on travelling or attending public events in the coming months, it is advised that precautions are taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. WHO has provided the following guidelines:
- Regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- If possible, keep a metre-long distance between yourself and anyone who coughs or sneezes
- Follow good respiratory hygiene by covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- If you feel unwell, particularly if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, stay at home to avoid infecting others. Follow the directions of your local health authority and call in advance if you seek medical attention.