Expo 2020 Dubai 'will not be cancelled' despite COVID challenges

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Organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai are confident about hosting the event in October despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Reem Al Hashimy, director general of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation, told Bloomberg and CNBC that the event will not be cancelled and is hopeful that strong inoculation programmes across the globe will improve the situation.

"No. We're not cancelling October 1, 2021. We're going to host this event, it's going to be a spectacular and great event," she told Bloomberg. "This has been a 10-year journey. Everybody is keen on having this Expo."

Al Hashimy admitted that there could be "vortexes here and there" but is hopeful for "more of a recovery".

She's banking on "strong vaccination rollout in different parts (of the world)". 

"We are actually beginning to see finally the strong impact of vaccination and reduced... prevalence of disease in society," she told CNBC.

While the team at Expo 2020 Dubai will be fully vaccinated, Al Hashimy clarified that it won't be enforced on "regular tourists or regular visitors".

However, stringent COVID safety protocols will be in place. It'll include face-mask and social distancing rules as well as mandatory PCR testing for visitors at various stages.

It comes as His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, welcomed representatives from around the world to "witness Expo 2020 Dubai's readiness for the exciting times ahead".

Dubai Eye 103.8's Richard Dean spoke to a few of representatives from the 173 countries at the Expo 2020 site.

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