Updated March 2, 2020
As Covid-19—the formal name for a flu-like disease that originated in Wuhan, China, and has now infected more than 87,000 people and killed close to 3,000 people globally—continues to spread around the world, fears are rising that the disease will disrupt the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games in July. Organizers had previously said the 2020 Games would go ahead as planned, but a member of the International Olympic Committee recently suggested the games could be canceled if the disease is not contained by the end of May.
While World Health Organization officials insist that Covid-19 is not yet a pandemic, concerns that it may turn into one have led organizers to cancel major global events across every industry, from fashion to technology, design, and hospitality. That’s not just an expensive and logistical nightmare—it’s also a major loss for the industries they represent, the organizers, and the participants. And it could add to the burden coronavirus has already placed on the world economy.
Below is a list of some of the biggest events canceled or postponed due to coronavirus.
Serie A matches
Convening of the American Physical Society
One of the largest physics conferences in the world was canceled one day before it was set to take place in Colorado from March 2 to 6.
Facebook’s developers conference
The tech giant canceled its annual F8 developers conference, which was scheduled to take place on May 5 and 6 in California. It said it would retain some online elements of the conference and host local events instead.
Six Nations Rugby match
CERAWeek energy conference
One of the largest gatherings of energy industry professionals, set to take place in Houston from March 9 to 13, has been canceled.
Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit
Facebook canceled its global marketing summit, scheduled to begin March 9 in San Francisco. The company said the decision was made in “an abundance of caution.”
Reuters reports that US president Donald Trump postponed a meeting with leaders of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian nations planned for March 14 in Las Vegas.
Game Developers Conference
The largest annual gathering of game industry professionals, set to take place in San Francisco between March 16 and 20, was postponed. Many top gaming companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook’s Oculus, and Sony Interactive Entertainment, had already pulled out.
China’s National People’s Congress
China announced earlier this week it would postpone its key annual gathering of lawmakers, scheduled to take place in March. It is the first time in decades that the country has been forced to delay the meeting.
Japan’s Azalea Festival
The annual azalea festival of the village of Higashi, which usually takes place in March, was canceled.
Geneva motor show and Baselworld
Two upcoming trade shows in Geneva were postponed or canceled following the Swiss government’s decision to temporarily ban all large events due to coronavirus.
Global fashion weeks
Fashion weeks in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo, set to take place mid- to late-March, were postponed due to coronavirus. Meanwhile, numerous Chinese fashion brands have pulled out of fashion weeks in Paris and Milan. The French luxury group LVMH canceled a cocktail reception and award ceremony set to take place during Paris Fashion Week.
Religious pilgrimages in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi government announced it is temporarily banning foreign pilgrims from entering the country, which is home to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
The Dalai Lama’s engagements
The Buddhist spiritual leader announced he would postpone an ordination ceremony for new monks and cancel all his public duties until further notice.
Stormzy and Green Day’s Asia tours
BTS concerts in South Korea
The Korean boy band canceled four concerts set to take place in Seoul between April 11 and 19 as part of a worldwide tour.
Chinese Grand Prix
The Chinese Grand Prix, set to take place from April 17 to 19, has been postponed because of coronavirus. Three other races in the Formula One season—in Australia, Bahrain, and Vietnam—could also be postponed.
Milan Furniture Fair
Milan’s Salone del Mobile, the largest furniture fair in the world, was slated to take place between April 21 and 26. Organizers announced it’s been postponed until June due to fears about a coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
The mayor of Nice, a city in southern France, canceled the last day of carnival because of coronavirus. Venice, Italy, too, canceled its carnival, one of the most popular in the world. Authorities said there were three confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Venice.
Mobile World Congress
Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s biggest mobile phone trade show, was set to take place in Barcelona between Feb. 24 and 27. The high-profile annual event attracts some of the world’s most prominent tech and telecommunications companies. Earlier this month, organizers announced it would be canceled because of Covid-19.
This post has been updated with the latest event cancelations or postponements tied to coronavirus.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the Chinese Grand Prix is the opening race of the Formula One season. It is the fourth race.
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