Geneva car show canceled as coronavirus spreads in Europe

Posted February 28, 2020 6:16 a.m. EST

— Next week's Geneva Motor Show has been canceled because of coronavirus fears, striking a marquee event from the global auto industry's calendar as it braces for a third year of recession.

Switzerland's Federal Office of Public Health on Friday said that gatherings of more than 1,000 people had been banned through at least March 15 in a bid to restrict the spread of the virus.

"We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors' top priority," conference organizers said in a statement on Friday.

This year's event was set to open to journalists on March 2. The public would have been able to attend from March 5 through March 15.

Some carmakers had already pared back their presence at the show because of the coronavirus outbreak. Toyota, for example, said it was only sending senior executives and public relations staff with responsibilities for Europe.

According to the organizers, roughly 220 exhibitors attend the annual car show, along with 10,000 journalists and roughly 660,000 visitors.

Fifteen cases of coronavirus have been reported in Switzerland. Italy has at least 650 infections and 17 deaths, while French officials have reported 38 cases and two deaths.

—This is a developing story.

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