Covid fears shut Shanghai’s West Bund Art & Design fair early

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Shanghai authorities on Saturday 12 November closed the ninth edition of the West Bund Art & Design Fair early over Covid-19 concerns. The event, which brought together around 100 galleries to the West Bund Art Center, opened on 10 November and was due to run until 13 November. The decision to close followed the dramatic shuttering of concurrent fair Art021 the day before for similar reasons.

West Bund had opened for its third day on Saturday as usual, although one exhibitor had their West Bund booth roped off by officials due to fears of contamination. While several of that gallery’s staff had been removed to central quarantine for being in close proximity to the positive case at 021 on Friday, those staff had not visited the West Bund site on the same day.

On the day of the closure, West Bund crowds began to make a beeline for exits at 17:00 amid rumours of a lockdown beginning at 17:30. Some booth staff who remained at the venue to protect artworks from disinfectant spraying by authorities were reportedly trapped in the venue until 9pm. On Sunday morning, West Bund organisers told exhibitors, both in person and via WeChat, that it would not reopen for its final day. The Centre Pompidou X West Bund Museum across the street also on Sunday announced its indefinite closure due to Covid-related cautionary measures.

According to an announcement from the Shanghai government, the positive case at 021 had 255 close contacts, who will now be sequestered to central quarantine, and another 4,412 secondary contacts who may need to undergo a home or hotel quarantine. West Bund’s Saturday visitors, however, have simply received messages to take additional PCRs in the coming days.

On Saturday, China recorded 14,288 new local Covid cases, with the rate of infection increasing.

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