There is still work to do in the most challenging of times, but Expo 2020 Dubai is on schedule to open in October thanks to measures taken by the host nation.
“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,” BIE Secretary General Dimitri Kerkentzes was reported as saying in Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram on 19 March.
“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.”
A steering committee of representatives of countries taking part in Expo 2020 Dubai met virtually on 19 March to discuss the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on preparations.
“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,” UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Reem Al Hashimy is reported as saying in al-Ahram.
“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.
“Our 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.”
The UAE has taken a range of measures to control the spread of COVID-19. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces told government news agency Wam: “In the UAE, we have adopted rational and early advanced precautionary measures before other countries around us to stand up to the challenge… Therefore, the infection tally in the UAE is less thanks to our early response to contain the virus at its onset”
Construction by the organising committee is complete, with International Participant Pavilions being completed.
The value of World Expos cannot be understated. “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,” said Kerkentzes.