PEOPLE wearing masks for protection against the coronavirus, leave the Mall of Dubai on April 28, 2020, after the shopping centre was reopened as part of moves in the Gulf emirate to ease lockdown restrictions imposed last month to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 illness.
The Expo 2020 global trade fair, hosted by Dubai, has been postponed by a year due to the coronavirus outbreak and will be held from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, the Paris-based organiser said Monday.
The six-month, multibillion-dollar global innovation fair, set to be the largest event ever staged in the Arab world, was expected to attract some 24 million visitors starting October 20 this year.
But a two-thirds majority of member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) voted in favour of a delay requested by the United Arab Emirates, which the body said “allows all participants to safely navigate the impact of COVID-19.”
“Expo 2020 Dubai is gearing up to help shape a post-pandemic world and create a better future for all,” the bureau said in a statement.
The delay “also allows the World Expo to focus on a collective desire for new thinking to identify solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time.”
Dubai, the glitzy city-state which is part of the United Arab Emirates and is known for hosting hundreds of conferences annually, has already scrapped a string of cultural and entertainment events amid the pandemic that has claimed more than 246,000 lives around the world to date.
Unable to meet in a general assembly due to epidemic restrictions, BIE member states voted remotely on the delay.
The vote technically remains open until May 29, but the required two-thirds threshold for approving the postponement was reached within a week of voting opening on April 24, the statement said.
They also voted to retain the name Expo 2020 Dubai.
It will be the first World Expo held in the BIE’s Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, welcoming 192 countries, plus businesses, multilateral organisations and educational establishments.