We’re just around the corner from when the annual Geneva Motor Show was supposed to start, but the event’s organizers have cancelled the show as of Friday, February 28 due to concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus among attendees. According to a Reuters report among others, the Swiss government enacted measures aimed to contain the recent outbreak, which as claimed nearly 2,500 deaths worldwide, mostly in China.
Organizers Palexpo released a statement on the news today as well. “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,” said Chairman Maurice Turrettini.
For its part, the Swiss government banned large events that draw 1,000 people or more to curb any potential outbreak in the country.
What is coronavirus and should you worry about it?
Of course, cancelling one of the world’s most popular auto shows is alarming, whatever the circumstances. An outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (also known as COVID-2019), has currently spread throughout China and at least 49 other countries as of late February 2020. The current outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, and the World Health Organization says there have been 67 deaths outside the U.S. as of Friday morning. CNBC reports the WHO is holding a live press conference to update the public, which you can watch here. (Note that the video may not be active if you try to watch it after February 28, 2020.)
As far what precautions you may want to take, the CDC has published interim guidelines on their website. Generally, the agency advises individuals to follow similar precautions as other viral strains, including avoiding close contact with infected people, touching your eyes, nose and mouth, covering your mouth when you cough and properly disinfecting frequently touched objects. The CDC also has guidelines for using a facemask to help prevent spreading the illness.
At this point, the WHO among other organizations are urging the public not to panic, but have stated the virus carries a “high risk” of spreading globally throughout the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned for more auto show updates, as we approach the New York Auto Show and Detroit Auto Show set to take place in April and June, respectively.