Organisers of Dubai Expo 2020 are taking a wait-and-see approach to preparations for the event as the world continues to battle a coronavirus outbreak.
The annual ITB Berlin tradeshow became the latest casualty of the virus over the weekend, cancelled by authorities seeking to limit the number of infections in Germany.
The event joins MWC Barcelona, the Chinese Grand Prix, Hong Kong and Singapore legs of the World Rugby Sevens and the Six Nations clash between Ireland and Italy on the scrap heap.
Authorities in Dubai hope the situation will improve in the coming months.
An Expo 2020 Dubai spokesperson said: “The safety and well-being of everyone visiting Expo 2020 Dubai is of paramount importance to us, and we are working closely with the United Arab Emirates’ ministry of health and prevention to apply the guidance that they have provided.
“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.”
Since the coronavirus was first identified at the end of 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it has gone on to spread to 64 countries, with almost 87,000 cases confirmed and nearly 3,000 deaths.
In the UK the prime minister will chair a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee today, after the number of UK coronavirus cases jumped to 36.
There are 192 countries participating in Expo 2020 Dubai, which is expected to see 25 million visits.
Some 70 per cent of visitors are forecast to come from over 200 countries, which could make the event impossible if the virus outbreak continues through the summer.
Expo 2020 is due to start on October 20th, and to run for six months.
The once-in-a-lifetime celebration – the largest event ever staged in the Arab world – is set to showcase Emirati hospitality at its finest.
Youth are at the heart of the event.
Expo 2020 thus aspires to create a meaningful legacy that will benefit generations to come, both locally and globally, spanning everything from innovations and architecture to friendships and business opportunities.