Kennel Club and the NEC will be taking “enhanced measures” to help protect visitors, exhibitors, clients and staff from the spread of Coronavirus at Crufts 2020. Hundreds of people from all over the world are expected to take part to the world’s biggest dog show, which will be taking place on the 5 – 8 March in Birmingham.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and we continue to follow advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England, as well as that of local government,” a Kennel Club statement reads.
“Everyone should note that the main message from Public Health England is on personal hygiene, therefore staff, exhibitors and visitors are also being encouraged to maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene by employing the ‘Catch It. Bin It. Kill It’ ethos.
“Additional signage and bottles of hand sanitiser will be introduced in toilets and the in-hall catering areas, to make it even easier for everyone to clean their hands.
“In addition Crufts will be supplying a hand sanitiser station at each public and dog exhibitor entrance.”
There are currently 15 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the United Kingdom and over 82,000 worldwide, about 78,500 of which in China and about 1,760 in South Korea.
The worst-hit European country is Italy, with over 470 currently confirmed cases – the vast majority in the north of the country, with 11 towns declared a “red zone” and put into lockdown. People coming those areas are being told to self-isolate upon arrival to keep Coronavirus from spreading.
“Further to the government COBRA meeting held on Monday 2 March, and following further discussion, the Kennel Club can confirm Crufts 2020 is currently going ahead as planned.
“Public Health England has not advised us to cancel the event. We are looking forward to welcoming our exhibitors and visitors as usual. However, this does remain an evolving situation and we will continue to adhere to the best available advice.”
As news came that several major sponsors – including Royal Canin UK, James Wellbeloved, GWF Nutrition Ltd, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and The Association of Pet Dog Trainers – have taken the decision not to attend Crufts 2020 over Coronavirus concerns, Crufts released the following statement on the evening of Wednesday 4 March.
“Following discussions tonight, Defra and their Chief Veterinary Officer’s advisors, as well as the Department of Health and Social Care, have emphasised that their advice has not changed following speculation of an isolated case of a dog testing ‘weak positive’ for Covid-19, which is inconclusive at this stage.
“The dog has not shown any clinical signs of CoV infection and further investigations are being carried out – we need to know the facts to fully evaluate the situation.
“Dogs of course are the heart of Crufts and the Kennel Club, and we have enhanced measures and precautions at the show to protect them, and our advice to our visitors and exhibitors must be to follow the most up-to-date advice from the medical experts.
“We continue to monitor the situation with the Department of Health and Defra, and any further updates will be issued on our official social media channels and website.”
“Due to the international nature of the show the concerns, health and wellbeing of its staff must be paramount”
A statement by GWF Nutrition reads, “Following the 3 March 2020 Coronavirus Statement by the Prime Minister, the Directors of GWF Nutrition Ltd have taken the decision not to attend Crufts 2020 in order to exercise duty of care to all its employees.
“This regrettable decision has not been made lightly and the company is devastated to miss the most important event in its promotional calendar. However, due to the international nature of the show the concerns, health and wellbeing of its staff must be paramount.
“GWF Nutrition would like to apologise to all its customers for this decision, but we hope that the reasons are understandable in light of recent events.”
Images by the Kennel Club