Coronavirus: All Expo 2020 Dubai countries ‘remain committed’ to finalising their pavilions on site

Participants hold virtual meeting to assess impact of coronavirus; reassured on health measures given

Expo 2020 Dubai hosted a virtual Steering Committee meeting on Wednesday, to consult on the impact COVID-19 is having on the Expo preparation, which is due to open in October, this year. The meeting was attended by country representatives taking part for the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Expo 2020 Dubai has fully applied the latest guidance from the Dubai Health Authority, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the World Health Organisation and other relevant bodies, according to a statement from the Expo organisers. In addition to this, Expo 2020 Dubai is closely monitoring ongoing developments and has committed to adjusting planned preparations, as changing circumstances require, it added.

HE Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai said the discussion with participants were an opportunity to reassure them on the measures that they have put into place in the UAE.

“As hosts of the next World Expo, due to open in seven months’ time, we always knew that 2020 was going to be demanding. What we could not predict is that we would be doing so in the midst of the biggest global health crisis in generations. These are difficult, uncertain times, which makes it even more heartening to see communities around the world facing this challenge together and to witness the incredible resilience of the human spirit against a menace that does not recognise international borders or timelines.”

She added that Expo organisers are looking for ways to provide tangible, meaningful support at this difficult time and their immediate priority is the health and well-being of everyone involved in Expo 2020 Dubai, and this will not be compromised.

“Our monitoring of ongoing developments means we will take all sensible precautions to manage and mitigate risk to all those involved,” she added.

Dimitri Kerkentzes, secretary general of the Bureau international des expositions (BIE), said that the Expo 2020 Dubai’s initiative is welcome, adding that the gravity of the situation and the impact that it is having in countries around the world cannot be ignored.

“World Expos are inherently global and inclusive events. For almost 170 years they have brought countries and people together to celebrate the best of humanity, and the fruits of our innovation and collaboration, around a theme addressing global challenges. Putting on a World Expo, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic requires a global effort from the 192 countries taking part in Expo 2020 Dubai.”

“We continue working with the organisers and are confident in the steps that the UAE has taken to manage the spread of the virus and protect all those involved in the Expo. Expo 2020 Dubai’s pragmatic approach offers both reassurance and assistance to those who need it, and will, I believe, contribute to the successful delivery of this mega event,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Manuel Salchli, chairman of the Steering Committee and Commissioner General of Switzerland added: “We held a virtual meeting with Expo Organisers to discuss the impact of COVID-19. From a construction perspective, all countries are committed to finalising their pavilions on site and will work in close coordination with Expo as they continue their dialogue in the coming weeks and adjust to the changing environment.”

The statement added that the group will convene in the coming weeks to re-assess the situation and plan accordingly. At present, work is continuing at the Expo 2020 site, where Expo-led construction is complete, and International Participant Pavilions are being completed. Detailed operation plans are being finalised ahead of a series of tests scheduled for later this year, it stated.

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