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Expo 2020 Dubai looks to postpone until 2021 over COVID-19

United Kingdom pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai has announced that it will explore the possibility of postponing the event by one year, in response to the global outbreak of COVID-19.

In a statement, Expo 2020 said: “We continue to face a global situation that is both fast moving and unpredictable.”

Expo 2020 also said it has been working hard and in consultation with key UAE and international stakeholders to review the impact of coronavirus.

“We remain firm in our collective aim to deliver an Expo that is true to its time and to our shared, urgent priorities,” the statement reads. “But it is clear that this is not the right time.”

Expo 2020 Dubai supports a proposal made by the Steering Committee today (March 30) to explore a one-year postponement.

BIE to work with member states and Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 will follow the processes of World Expo governing body Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) on making the decision to delay Expo 2020.

BIE will now work with member states and Expo 2020 Dubai to establish a change in dates. A final decision on postponement can only be made by BIE’s General Assembly.

According to the statement, Article 28 of the BIE Convention requires a two-thirds majority vote from member states to change the dates.

Expo 2020 said its top priority is to “keep everybody involved in this Expo healthy and well”. It continues to follow guidance from local health authorities and the World Health Organisation.

‘The global situation remains unpredictable,’ says Expo

Reem Al Hashemy, director general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The global situation is fast moving, and remains unpredictable.

“Over the last several weeks, we have been consulting with key UAE and international stakeholders to review the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our plans and preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai.

“While they remain firmly committed to Expo 2020, many countries have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and they have therefore expressed a need to postpone the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai by one year, to enable them to overcome this challenge. The UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai have listened.

“And in the spirit of solidarity and unity, we supported the proposal to explore a one year postponement at today’s Steering Committee meeting. We look forward to welcoming the world, which we are certain will only come out of this pressing challenge stronger, and more resilient than it ever was.”

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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