Geneva car show canceled as coronavirus spreads in Europe

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In an extraordinary meeting earlier this morning, the Swiss Federal Council announced its decision to ban all large-scale events that involve more than 1,000 people at least until March 15.

This means that the Geneva Motor Show will be canceled, putting an end to a week-long saga of will-they-or-won’t-they. The show organizers confirmed the cancellation in a press conference just now.

“The Federal Council’s top priority is to protect the population,” the authorities said in their statement. “It is responding to the latest developments in the coronavirus epidemic and has categorized the situation in Switzerland as ‘special’ in terms of the Epidemics Act.”

“We regret to announce the 2020 Geneva Motor Show will be canceled. This is force majeure,” said the GIMS organizers in their press conference.

The Geneva Motor Show was going to open its gates on March 2 for the world’s press, remaining open until March 15. Various car makers and other companies had already begun cutting the number of staff attending the show over the coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

The Geneva Motor Show will refund all tickets sold, while the organizers are asking the exhibitors to dismantle their stands by March 7. This is a complete cancellation, meaning that Europe’s biggest auto show won’t return on a later date this year.

“The show cannot be postponed. It’s not possible. It’s too big. It’s not feasible,” GIMS organizers said.

So far the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Switzerland has rose to 22.