Expo 2020 Dubai still on

Preparations are proceeding for the October event, organisers finalise detailed plans to manage disruptions

As of now, 192 countries are taking part in Expo 2020 Dubai. Credit: Expo 2020 Dubai

DUBAI - Preparations are proceeding for Expo 2020 Dubai, with organisers finalising detailed plans to manage the impact of COVID-19's disruption before the event launches in October.

Nonetheless, the immediate priority remains the health and wellbeing of attendees and exhibitors involved in the Expo, where the event committee has fully adhered to the latest guidelines from all relevant bodies such as the World Health Organisation and Dubai Health Authority.

"Our monitoring of ongoing developments means we will take all sensible precautions to manage and mitigate risk to all those involved," said Ms Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and director general, Expo 2020 Dubai.

While acknowledging that the COVID-19 outbreak was not something they could predict, the director general shared that ongoing virtual meetings with representatives of countries taking part in Expo 2020 are still going on, to "reassure them on the measures that we have put into place in the UAE, to listen to their issues, and to look for ways that we can provide tangible, meaningful support at this difficult time."

Responding favourably to the event committee's initiative, Mr Dimitri Kerkentzes, secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions adds that "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".

As of now, 192 countries are taking part in Expo 2020 Dubai, with 25 million visitors in attendance.

Expo highlights include a massive US$5 billion Heart of Europe project on The World Islands. The first phase will feature three islands: Sweden, Germany and Honeymoon Islands. The project includes 78 floating Seahorse Villas (floating homes with underwater views) - where the first nine have already been pushed into place on to the seabed.

The heart-shaped Honeymoon Island, and Portafino Hotel on Europe Island, are right now being built and readied for handover in Q4 2020.

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