The organisers behind Expo 2020 Dubai have recommended delaying the event by a year as cases of Covid-19 increase in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
The Expo 2020 steering committee, comprising officials from the UAE and other participating nations, recommended the delay after conducting a virtual meeting on 30 March.
The delay can be administered after being approved by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) member states, which oversees the award of the event’s hosting rights.
BIE will work with member states and Expo 2020 Dubai's organisers on the postponement plan. The BIE's bylaws require that any amendment to the dates requires a favourable vote from two-thirds of the member states.
Reports say participating nations asked to delay the event so they could focus on the coronavirus outbreak in their respective countries.
Travel bans, curfews and economic shutdowns have been imposed around the world as Covid-19 infects more than 735,560 people, including 44,905 in the Middle East.
The recommendation to delay Expo 2020 comes after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed earlier this month due to Covid-19. The Games will now be held on 23 July 2021.
Covid-19 infections in the Mena region during March 2020
Construction on projects led by Expo 2020 Dubai is complete and participant pavilions’ development is at an advanced stage.
Dubai had allocated a budget worth about AED33bn ($8.9bn) to Expo 2020, and UK bank HSBC estimated that about AED23bn, or 70 per cent of the total amount, was dedicated to urban and infrastructure projects needed to host the event.
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