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DUBAI: Organizers of the Expo 2020 Dubai have confirmed that a member of the team has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus and they say they are taking precautions to ensure the virus does not spread further among other staff.

The confirmation comes just days before the the Expo 2020 Dubai team plan to meet on Monday to discuss further the event’s future.

There have been 248 cases of COVID-19 in the UAE so far and two people have died, there have been 45 recoveries.

“We can confirm that one member of Expo 2020 staff has been diagnosed with COVID-19,” an Expo 2020 Dubai spokesman said.

“All those in contact or in touch with the individual are following the Dubai Health Authority protocols, including testing, quarantine, and self-isolation measures. As with all other organizations, we continue to follow all relevant guidelines and instructions from relevant health and governmental authorities.”

Organizers estimated last year that the Expo would draw 11 million overseas visitors. It is billed as a showpiece of culture, business and technology with pavilions from 192 countries plus concerts and other events.

The expo is due to open in October this year, but with the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus, organizers continue to review the situation and are regularly reviewing plans and preparations in line with guidance from authorities in the United Arab Emirates and international stakeholders, the spokesman said.

The Expo 2020 Steering Committee, which groups participating nations, is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on March 30 for further consultations. 

“We continue to closely monitor the global situation relating to COVID-19, as we have since the beginning of the virus emerging,” the spokesman said.

“We are regularly reviewing plans and preparations in line with guidance from UAE and international stakeholders. Following BIE processes, the Expo 2020 Steering Committee will reconvene on 30 March for further consultation.”

“We remain committed to hosting a World Expo that we all envisioned, to showcase the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world. Any decision on the World Expo needs to be a collaborative one that is made with the participants and the BIE, as well as other stakeholders.”

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