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Expo organisers prepare to hold Dubai event delayed by coronavirus

Organisers of ‘Expo 2020 Dubai’ said on Saturday (January 16) they are committed to host the event in October 2021, after it was postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fair, which had been due to run from October 2020 to April this year, was delayed last May after participating countries said they needed to focus on tackling the spread of infections.

Organisers now say that they are ready for all possible scenarios amid a new global wave of the pandemic.

“We are following all the guidelines, all the international guidelines on how to deal with COVID,” the event’s Chief Development and Delivery Officer, Ahmed al-Khatib, told reporters.

He said the organisers expect the doors to open on October 1 and until March 31, 2022.

Part of the exhibition site will be open to the public from next week until April to drum up local interest for the event which has been nearly a decade in the making.

But with the pandemic once again raging around the world, there are questions over the viability of hosting international public events.

A Japanese cabinet minister this week said the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics may not go ahead this summer as planned.

Expo 2020 Dubai had expected to attract 11 million foreign visitors, more than the population of the United Arab Emirates.

Coronavirus infections in the UAE have risen to record daily levels this month, with cases in excess of 3,000, prompting Britain to remove the Gulf state from its travel corridor list.

While most coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in the UAE, social distancing and mask-wearing in public are still required. Visitors have flocked to Dubai during its peak winter tourism season, while other countries impose new lockdowns.

(Production: Abdelhadi Ramahi, Tarek Fahmy)


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