Last year the Casablanca International Book Fair attracted over a half million visitors. This year the coronavirus catches up with the 2020 fairs it missed first time around.

Not much to this story at this stage. The Moroccan Minister of Culture has confirmed what was long-expected: that the February Casablanca International Book Fair, Morocco’s biggest cultural event, will not happen in February.

For the past three years the Casablanca attendance figures have exceeded 500,000.

That looks inpossible to match this year, where even if the pandemic does recede, there will still be disquiet among the public about big events of this nature.

But it would also seem there are no plans to consider a virtual alternative, despite the spectacular results of other fairs around the world which have ventured down this path. Most recently in Brazil.

No date has been suggested for the postponed Casablanca event to reschedule to but realistically we should now be looking at the autumn, as the pandemic is unlikely to improve by late spring, and crowded book fairs are not ideally suited to the hot summer months in the Arab arena.

But the final decision will be taken by the Moroccan authorities.

More on that when it happens.