Crypto Startup CEO, Attendee of Ethereum Conferences Diagnosed With Coronavirus (UPDATED)
Zhen Ju Yong (Zen), CEO and Co-Founder of Singapore-based distributed private key management solution, Torus Labs, said he has been diagnosed with Covid-19 virus and is currently staying at an isolated ward in a hospital. (Updated at 15:42 UTC: updates in bold.)
"I fell ill yesterday and have just been diagnosed with" Covid-19, writes Zen today. He felt the symptoms commonly associated with this novel virus two nights ago, including fever, coughing, a runny nose, and shortness of breath. Zen said he is currently settled "quite nicely" in a hospital's isolated ward.
However, his announcement came with a major and significant warning.
Zen has immediately warned the attendees of two conferences he has recently attended, and who might've had close contact to him, to take additional precautions or get tested. The two Ethereum hackathons and conferences he has tagged are ETHLondonUK, held from February 28 to March 1, as well as Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC), which took place from March 3 until March 5 in Paris.
And given that the virus has already been spreading through China's Wuhan since December last year, moving soon globally, all events held in the past two-three months may have theoretically been a venue for spreading of the virus, especially since: it's highly infective, people with mild symptoms may not know they have it, and conferences are meeting places for large groups of people from across the world.
We have asked ETHLondonUK and EthCC for comment and will update should we get their responses.
Meanwhile, some gatherings of crypto experts and fans continue. For example, CryptoCompare Digital Asset Summit has been held in London just yesterday, on March 10. On the other hand, the Chamber of Digital Commerce has decided to postpone DC Blockchain Summit 2020, which was scheduled March 11-12, due to "the rapid evolution of the coronavirus (COVID-19)." Paris Blockchain Week Summit, initially scheduled March 31- April 1, was also postponed.
600 people attended the CryptoCompare Digital Asset Summit, which is down some 40% as overseas visitors stayed away, Charles Hayter, CEO of CryptoCompare, told Cryptonews.com.
As to why they have decided to go with the event, he said that they carefully and on a daily basis "monitored the official government and public health advice, which was that even the biggest events should continue."
Big sporting events such as rugby and football matches with some 80,000 attendees, large conferences such as Crufts with 160,000 attendees, as well as many smaller conferences in the UK were still going ahead, the CEO said. On March 9, the Cultural Minister "said the advice is clear from the chief medical officer: there isn't a need to cancel such events," he added, and later on March 9 the Government announced a continuation of the "containment phase."
"Our messaging to attendees was not to travel if at risk, unwell or if traveling from certain countries. Our conference is relatively small, in a large space, we took many precautions to protect the safety of our attendees and people were sensible and considerate towards fellow attendees," said Hayter.
He estimated that some events will be moved online and where networking is key the events will be smaller and more focused.
"We are unlikely to see many 1,000+ events this year, let alone 5,000+," he concluded.
The number of Covid-19 cases has been rising across the world, reaching 119,378 and climbing, with 4,300 deaths and 66,583 recoveries currently. There are 166 cases in Singapore, out of which 73 are active and 93 have recovered. "For those interested, the processes in Singapore seem quite mature," writes Zen of his experience. "I've been ferried via ambulance to be tested/warded, at the testing centre care is taken to prevent cross-contamination, and to test they "swab" you (stick cotton bud down your nose, it's not comfortable)."