This year’s Geneva International Motor Show (Gims), which was scheduled to be organized between March 5-15, is now cancelled in an attempt to restrict the fast-spreading coronavirus, the organisers of one of the largest annual motor shows globally said in an official statement today.
“The 90th edition of the GIMS, which was supposed to welcome the media from next Monday and the general public from 5 to 15 March 2020, will now finally not take place," the organizing committee said in its official statement.
Besides issuing a detailed advisory for its citizens and tourists, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), Switzerland has banned any large-scale gathering of more than 1,000 people until 15 March 2020.
“Large-scale events involving more than 1000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March 2020," FOPH said on its website today.
FOPH’s decision to cancel the international motor show comes just three days before the opening of the exhibition to the media.
According to FOPH, fifteen cases of coronavirus are confirmed in Switzerland as of Friday, spread across cities such as Geneva, Zurich, Ticino, Vaud and others. It said that all persons who have tested positive for Covid-19 have carried the infection from abroad. Neighboring country Italy has confirmed about 655 cases of coronavirus until today morning, FOPH said.
Maurice Turrettini, Chairman of the Foundation Board said, “We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors' top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision."
The official statement from the organisers of Gims said that although until last week it wasn’t clear that coronavirus scare could impact in terms of cancellation of the motor show as a necessary step to contain the infection, the situation changed with the appearance of the first confirmed coronavirus case in Switzerland, which led to the Federal Council’s decision earlier today.
“The financial consequences for all those involved in the event are significant and will need to be assessed over the coming weeks. Tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded," the statement said.