No staff members from Hachette Livre will be attending London Book Fair, the publisher has confirmed.
A Hachette spokesperson said today (Tuesday 3rd March): “We have a duty of care to our staff, and, after careful discussion and reflection, no one from Hachette Livre will be attending the London International Book Fair - including staff from Hachette UK.”
It follows an earlier decision by Hachette Book Group USA on Monday afternoon (2nd March) that it would not attend the Fair.
Hachette Livre is the first major publisher to pull out of the event in its entirety.
LBF director Jacks Thomas said earlier today that the event would go ahead as scheduled, in line with government advice, which is not yet calling for a ban on mass gatherings.
The government has just published its guidance advice on the coronavirus.
It states that response to the virus comes in three phases, Contain, Delay, and Mitigate. The government is currently emphasising the "Contain" phase of the outbreak, but is planning for the "Delay" phase already. "In the event of the outbreak worsening, or a severe prolonged pandemic, the response will escalate, and the focus will move from Contain to Delay, through to Mitigate."
Action that would be considered in the Delay phase could include population distancing strategies (such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, reducing the number of large scale gatherings) to slow the spread of the disease throughout the population, whilst ensuring the country’s ability to continue to run as normally as possible."The UK governments' education departments' planning assumptions include the possibility of having to close educational settings in order to reduce the spread of infection," the guidance states.