The Covid-19 novel coronavirus outbreak has claimed yet another high profile event. Just a few days ago, the organisers of the Geneva International Motor Show announced the cancellation of the major annual automotive event, after the Swiss government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people, Automotive News reports. The show was supposed to kick off this week.

“We regret to announce the 2020 Geneva motor show will be cancelled. This is force majeure,” a spokesman for the Palexpo show venue said. The show will be cancelled outright, and not postponed. “The show cannot be postponed. It’s not possible. It’s too big. It’s not feasible,” the spokesman said.

Just last week, Swiss federal health minister Alain Berset announced that events involving more than 1,000 people were prohibited with immediate effect. “In view of the current situation and the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Council has categorised the situation in Switzerland as ‘special’ in terms of the Epidemics Act.”

“Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until March 15.” Some cars such as the Aston Martin Vantage Roadster, Audi A3 Sportback, BMW i4, Fiat 500 EV, Kia Sorento, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Porsche 911 Turbo and Volkswagen Golf PHEV were among the few high-profile launches set to be formally introduced at the show. The Hyundai Prophecy and Polestar Precept were also set to be unveiled.

Several car brands and supplies have already started withdrawing employees from the event after the virus became more widespread in Europe. Apparently, an outbreak has paralysed large parts of northern Italy, which borders Switzerland. As of February 27, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Switzerland was nine.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Beijing Motor Show, which was originally scheduled to be held from April 21 to 30, will be postponed as well. Unlike the Geneva show, the Beijing show organisers have decided to postpone the event, but the new dates have yet to be announced. The 2020 Baselworld event for watches has also been called off.

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