Geneva motor show cancelled due to coronavirus

Friday, 28th February 2020, 4:39 pm
Updated Friday, 28th February 2020, 4:55 pm
The Geneva International Motor Show has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak (Getty Images)

Next week's Geneva International Motor Show has been cancelled due to fears over the spread of Covid-19.

The cancellation of the prestigious car convention came after the Swiss government announced an immediate ban on all "public and private" events in the country involving more than 1,000 people as a measure to halt the spread of coronavirus.

The event was due to take place from March 5 to 15 and typically draws tens of thousands of visitors every year.

'A force majeure'

Organisers revealed their regret at he decision, stating: "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."

Full refunds have been promised to car fanatics who had been planning on visiting the exhibition.

Though famed for the presence of luxurious brands and outrageous car concepts, the motor show also serves as a launchpad for more mainstream car models. Volkswagen and BMW were among the manufacturers planning to reveal new car designs at the annual festival.

'A significant impact on public life'

The Swiss Government revealed the measures on Friday morning after the first confirmed cases of the disease in the land-locked country.

Switzerland's interior minister, Alain Berset said: "We aware that this measure will have a significant impact on public life.

"However, the move is expected to provide effective protection to people in Switzerland and to public health. It should prevent or delay the spread of the disease in Switzerland, thus reducing its momentum."

Aside from the Geneva motor show, affected events include the traditional Carnival procession in Basel, a ski marathon and several football matches.