A world body on Tuesday tentatively approved Dubai's request to move its Expo 2020 world's fair to next year over the coronavirus pandemic.
The Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions' executive committee said its member states will vote on the proposal to move the event to Oct. 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. It expects a final vote count by May 29.
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The proposal requires a two-thirds approval, but given the disruption caused by the virus worldwide, it appears likely to easily pass. The bureau's executive committee voted unanimously to back the proposal.
“I am confident when the time is right, Expo 2020 Dubai will constitute the best platform to build, with renewed optimism and hope, a better and brighter future for all,” bureau secretary-general Dimitri S. Kerkentzes said in a statement.
Dubai won the rights to host the event in 2014. That helped boost the city’s crucial real-estate market and had officials hoping for more tourists in this city-state that is home to the world’s busiest airport for international travel.
The United Arab Emirates confirmed 490 new cases over the past 24 hours after testing 30,000 people, according to the health ministry. The ministry also announced three new deaths, raising the country’s death toll to 46 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, 1,443 people out of a confirmed 7,755 cases have recovered so far.