Dubai Expo 2020 organisers are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and are hopeful that it will be under control by the time the event begins.
The six-month long expo starts on October 20, 2020 and runs until April 10, 2021. The first expo to be held in the MENASA region, it will include pavilions from 192 nations, with up to 25 million visits expected during the show.
“The safety and well-being of everyone visiting Expo 2020 Dubai is of paramount importance to us, and we’re working closely with the UAE’s ministry of Health and Prevention to apply the guidance that they have provided,” an Expo 2020 spokesperson said.
“Expo does not open until October this year, and we will continue to follow the situation closely. We are hopeful that global efforts will succeed in managing the virus.”
Also read: Dubai Expo 2020: The countdown begins
Several events have so far been cancelled or postponed over fears of the coronavirus, which is continuing to spread across the world.
Locally, the Dubai International Boat Show, Dubai Lynx as well as Dubai’s Gov Games 2020 have been postponed, while the last leg of the UAE Tour cycling competition was cancelled after two members of the Italian technical team tested positive for the virus.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) March 1, 2020
Globally, discussions are also reportedly underway about whether to continue with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, scheduled to begin in late July.
According to some reports, organisers are even mulling the possibility of holding it behind closed doors and broadcasting it live on TV.
While the World Health Organisation has not yet declared the outbreak a ‘pandemic’, the death toll from the virus has crossed 3,300, while the number of cases stands at more than 97,000 (updated figures as of March 5).
“It’s not either/or,” said WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We must focus on containment while doing everything we can to prepare for a potential pandemic.”