Minister offers message of hope as Expo 2020 Dubai postponement decision looms

Talks have taken place with a view to delay the event until next year

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Reem Al Hashimy, director general of Expo 2020 Dubai and Minister of State for International Co-operation, has issued a positive message after it was confirmed the event could be postponed until next year.

Dubai's organisers said earlier this week they were in talks with participating countries and the world fair's governing body, the Bureau International des Expositions, to determine whether it should be run at a new date as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Al Hashimy said in a passionate video message that “our promise still stands – connecting minds, creating the future”.

“As we worked towards October 2020, something terrible happened to our world,” she said.

“And so our journey must take a different turn. We must adjust our opening dates for Expo 2020 Dubai and spend the time now with our friends across the globe, banding together, working together to emerge stronger than ever before.

“When we come together as one, humanity has no limits.”

After a virtual meeting of the Expo 2020 steering committee, on Monday officials said they were exploring a delay of one year for the event.

Billed as the “world’s greatest show”, the Expo was expected to welcome 25 million visitors from October 20.

The event was to feature 192 countries and run until April 10 next year.

But many countries have been placed into lockdown in an attempt to fight the spread of Covid-19.

As of Wednesday, about 873,000 cases had been confirmed across the world.

More than 43,000 have died as a result of contracting the virus, while about 185,000 recoveries have been registered.

In the UAE, the infection tally is at 664, with 61 recoveries and six deaths.

The pandemic has led to the postponement of a host of major events, such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which had been due to start this July, and the Euro 2020 football tournament.

World comes together to support Expo 2020 Dubai 

International participants and official partners have shown solidarity with Expo 2020 Dubai after the emirate decided to postpone the event amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The global effect of the virus led many countries to suggest delaying the opening of the world fair until October 2021.

The Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee includes members of the senior leadership of Expo 2020 and World Expo governing body, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) and representatives from Expo 2020’s international participants.

All of them agreed to the possibility of delaying the opening of the event.

BIE will now work with its member states and Expo 2020 to set the new dates.

A final decision on postponement can only be made by the BIE’s general assembly, which requires a two-thirds majority vote from the member states.

The recommendation followed several weeks of discussions with key UAE and international stakeholders, to review the ongoing effect of Covid-19 on Expo 2020’s plans and preparations.