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Art Basel Pushes Hong Kong Fair To May

After weeks of speculation, Art Basel has finally announced moving the Hong Kong fair from March to May.

Despite the rising third wave of COVID-19, Art Basel had kept the schedule of the fair intact until earlier this year. A few days ago, while announcing the exhibitor list for the fair, the organizers informed that they had also booked dates in May as an emergency backup. But it is now confirmed that keeping the rising cases in Hong Kong in view, the fair will be pushed to May.

The new dates of the fair are May 27-29 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The fair will open for a two-day preview on May 25. So far, 137 galleries from 28 countries have confirmed their participation in the fair. Of them, 82 galleries will participate virtually vis satellite booths. In its statement, Art Basel said: “By taking this decision early, our goal is to ensure that we will be able to welcome the broadest possible community of art supporters and members of the public at HKCEC, in addition to the international audience that will be joining us virtually, while protecting the health and safety of everyone concerned.”

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In recent days, Hong Kong has observed a rapid increase in coronavirus cases. On Thursday, the state saw 164 new cases (a record since the onset of the pandemic), of which 48 came from foreign countries. This happened despite Hong Kong having one of the strictest COVID protocols in the world. Since the peak of the first wave, Hong Kong has had a mandator 21-day quarantine period for all international travellers (relaxed to 14 days quarantine and 7 days home isolation from Feb 5). The city has also banned international travel from major countries like USA, UK, France and Canada. Hong Kong is also working hard towards its “zero-covid” policy. So far, 64 per cent of the residents are fully vaccinated, while 71 per cent have received at least one dose.