The growing list of world events canceled due to coronavirus

The Olympics know no borders and neither does coronavirus.
The Olympics know no borders and neither does coronavirus.
Image: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
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Updated March 4, 2020

Fear over the spread of coronavirus has already disrupted schools, cruise ships, and religious congregations. Now, it’s coming for your social and professional calendar, too.

As Covid-19—the formal name for a flu-like disease that originated in Wuhan, China, and has now infected more than 90,000 people and killed about 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.

Upcoming events:

Latest James Bond

The release of No Time to Die, which was set for April, has been postponed to November.

London Book Fair

A large gathering of professionals from the book publishing industry set to take place between March 10 and 12 was canceled.

Google events

The tech company canceled the in-person component of its Google I/O developers conference and Cloud Next conference. Google said Cloud Next would be held online between April 6 and 8.

World Bank and IMF spring meetings

The annual convening of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, will be held virtually instead of in person.

Six Nations Rugby match

Philip Browne, chief executive of the Irish Rugby Football Union, postponed two Six Nations rugby matches between Ireland and Italy set to take place in Dublin between March 6 and 8.

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.”

ASEAN meeting

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 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 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

British rapper Stormzy postponed concerts in Japan, China, and South Korea as part of his world tour. Green Day postponed concerts in Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan.

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.

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.

Past events

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.

Serie A matches

Six soccer matches set to take place in Italy were postponed after the country restricted outdoor sporting events in the northern regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna.

European carnivals

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.