Dubai’s Expo 2020 officially postponed until October 1, 2021 amid coronavirus
Expo 2020 Dubai has been officially postponed until October, 2021, after two-thirds of the Paris-based organizing body, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Member States, voted in favor of postponing the mega event by one year.
The event will now run from October 1, 2021, until March 31, 2022, as the coronavirus pandemic triggers widespread lockdowns across the world, impeding the safety of holding a large event, and the possibility of individuals traveling to participate.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, and chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, welcomed the decision by the organizers.
“We welcome the decision of BIE Member States to support the delay of Expo 2020 Dubai by one year. We are thankful to Member States for their continued commitment to contributing to a World Expo in Dubai that will play a pivotal role in shaping our post-pandemic world at a time when it will be most needed,” he said.
BIE Member States are voting remotely on the decision as a general meeting is not possible due to restrictions in place as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The vote remains open until May 29, but the two-thirds threshold was already passed within a week of voting opening on April 24.
“I applaud the swift response by BIE Member States. Their support for the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai – which will be formally approved on 29 May – is a renewed sign of solidarity and demonstrates the shared will to work together in 'creating the future,’” Secretary General of the BIE, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, said.
Dubai won the rights to hold the event in 2014, with officials putting in place ambitious infrastructure plans to handle the influx of tourists expected with the event.
The Dubai Expo is the first to be held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region, and will be the largest event to take place in the Arab world. The mega-event expects to welcome people from 192 countries around the world, with many businesses, educational establishments, and multilateral organizations due to take part.
The UAE reported seven new deaths from the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the country’s total death toll to 126. Over 14,000 have been infected with the virus, with 2,663 recoveries.