THE Geneva International Motor Show has been cancelled after the Swiss government enforced a law to ban gatherings of more than 1,000 people as it fights to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Following a press conference this morning, show organisers said they accepted the decision following the first confirmed coronavirus cases in Switzerland.
Maurice Turrettini, chairman of the board for the show, said: ‘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.’
In a statement, the government said the Federal Council had agreed to declare a ‘special situation’ within the law on epidemics, which allowed it to ban large gatherings.
The ban comes into force with immediate effect and runs until March 15 at the earliest – the same day the Geneva Motor Show is scheduled to end.
The future of this year’s show had been in doubt this week after large areas of northern Italy, around 400 miles from the Swiss city, were quarantined.
Organisers previously said they were keen to go ahead with the show unless the authorities stepped in.
The Geneva International Motor Show is considered one of the biggest events in the car industry, with manufacturers saving major new product launches for the annual event.