About the Feature Image: This illustration was created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Spikes adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Image Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

Coronavirus Concerns Move INDEX 2020 to October

European nations are taking extraordinary measures to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has contributed to the deaths of thousands around the world and rattled global stock markets. Multiple nations have enacted caps on the number of people permitted to attend an event. The Swiss Federal Council, for example, passed a rule on 28 February 2020 that will prohibit events that bring together more than 1000 people.

The move has forced the triennial INDEXTM conference—a signature global event for nonwoven materials, including geosynthetics—to reschedule for 20 – 23 October 2020.

Geosynthetica had reported just last week (February 24) on the development of a special geosynthetics seminar at INDEX 2020. The organizers of INDEX are working to reschedule all of the activities.


INDEX, which is managed by the EDANA, the nonwovens trade association, features more than 12,000 attendees with interests in construction, hygiene, automotive, and other sectors that utilized nonwoven materials. The organizers had lined up 730 exhibitors.

“The situation has recently significantly deteriorated with the appearance of the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Switzerland,” the conference announced on February 28. “The organizers had no other choice than to review their assessment of the situation and to act in strict compliance with the ordinance of the Swiss Federal Council.”

It isn’t simply a matter of government controls, however. Global businesses have also responded to coronavirus concerns by significantly reducing international travel allowances.

Image of Daniele Cazzuffi at geosynthetics seminar at INDEX
IGS Past President Daniele Cazzuffi is scheduled to moderate another INDEXTM geosynthetics seminar

“The well-being and health of all INDEX™ exhibitors, visitors, and exhibition staff, as well as their business needs and expectations, remain our highest priority,” said Pierre Wiertz, EDANA General Manager. “We trust that all participants will understand this forced decision.”

EDANA’s conference is certainly not alone in announcing abrupt (and forced) changes. JEC World has moved its global composites show a couple months out to 12 – 14 May 2020 in Paris and multiple conferences have been canceled in Asia, particularly in China.