Swiss government cancels 2020 Geneva Motor Show amidst coronavirus fear

Image: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Image: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

The Geneva International Motor Show, a major event on the car industry calendar, has been cancelled after Switzerland banned large gatherings amid the new coronavirus epidemic, local authorities said Friday.

"The Geneva International Motor Show will not take place," Antonio Hodgers, head of the regional cantonal government for Geneva, said on Twitter.

The Swiss government put out a call today (28 February) that any event in the country, hosting 1000 people or more, must be cancelled. The news comes as both a shock and no surprise following increased cases of the virus affecting the global population.

The ban is effective immediately and will apply until at least 15 March 2020.

The Swiss Federal Council said in a statement: “The Federal Council's top priority is to protect the population. It is responding to the latest developments in the coronavirus epidemic and has categorised the situation in Switzerland as ‘special' in terms of the Epidemics Act.”

F1 race postponed

The Geneva Motor Show is the biggest of its kind in the world and often sees manufacturers exhibit their latest products. It’s become one of the staple events of the motoring industry and is seen as an important event on the automotive calendar.

It is not only the Geneva Motor Show that’s been affected. Formula 1 and Formula E have postponed or cancelled their racing events in China, and more events could follow.

In F1, it is speculated that the first four races of the 2020 F1 season – Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam, and China – could be postponed and see the season begin in May, with the Dutch GP at Zandvoort.

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