Zurich - The organisers of Baselworld, one of the world's biggest watch fairs, said Friday they would cancel the 2020 event after the Swiss government banned mass assemblies over the spread of the deadly new coronavirus.

"For health safety reasons and in accordance with the precautionary principle following the bans of large-scale public and private events ... Baselworld announces that it has taken the decision to postpone the show," it said in a statement.

The show, which was to be held from April 30 to May 5, will now be put off until next January, it said.

The news came after the Swiss government on Friday announced it was suspending all public and private events with more than 1,000 participants until at least March 15, invoking emergency powers to do so.

A range of other major events in the wealthy Alpine nation have also been cancelled, including the Geneva International Motor Show, as well as another large watch show, the Watches and Wonders Geneva.

The Baselworld organisers said they had taken this "difficult decision in close consultation with its partners and the health authorities in charge".

"Following today's official ban on large public gatherings which meant direct repercussions for the show, Baselworld had no other option than to make a decision as all preparations, in particular, construction in the halls and of the stands was scheduled to commence next week," they said.(AFP)

 

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