A woman takes a picture with her mobile phone of a poster by Italian urban artist Salvatore Benintende aka "TVBOY" depecting Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa wearing a protective facemask and holding a mobile phone reading "Mobile World Virus" in a street of Barcelona on February 18, 2020, a week after the World Mobile Congress was cancelled due to fears stemming from the coronavirus that sparked an exodus of industry heavyweights. Image Credit: AFP

From trade exhibitions and fashion shows to sports and examinations, some of the world’s biggest events are being cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

More and more organisers are pulling events over fears of spreading the potentially deadly disease, with many thousands of attendees having to alter travel plans.

The most high-profile cancellation so far has been the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, which was due to take place at the end of this month.

The event usually attracts more than 100,000 people, with an estimated 6,000 of them travelling from China.


Cisco Live, set to take place in Melbourne at the beginning of March, with more than 8,500 people expected to attend, has also been called off.

The annual get-together for the US networking firm normally brings together customers, engineers and executives, has training sessions, and evening entertainment events.


Earlier this month Switzerland’s largest watchmaker Swatch cancelled its “Time to Move” summit for the media and retailers due to the coronavirus.

The exhibition of the firm’s new luxury products was scheduled to take place in Zurich in the first week of March.

Swatch owns a host of luxury brands including Omega, Tissot, and Longines.

Chanel has cancelled a show in China in May due to the coronavirus outbreak, the French fashion house said on Tuesday.

“Considering the current situation and following the guidance of Chinese authorities, Chanel has decided to postpone its project of a replica of the Paris 31 rue Cambon 2019/20 Metiers d’art collection in May in Beijing to a later and more appropriate moment,” the statement said.

No new date was given for the show.


The Imperial Household Agency said on Monday that it has cancelled a public birthday event for Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace scheduled on the weekend due to concern it could contribute to spread of the new coronavirus.

The birthday address on Sunday would have been the first by the emperor, who will turn 60, since his accession to the throne on May 1. His father, former emperor Akihito, became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in over 200 years when he stepped down on April 30.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako were originally scheduled to greet the public three times on Sunday morning from a balcony in the palace’s Chowa-Den wing, together with Crown Prince Fumihito and his wife Crown Princess Kiko and their daughters Princess Mako and Princess Kako.


The mass participation race at the Tokyo marathon, which was expected to have 38,000 people taking part, has become the latest sporting casualty of the coronavirus. In a statement organisers confirmed the event on 1 March will now be limited to the elite field of 176 athletes and 30 wheelchair athletes.

“We have been preparing for the Tokyo marathon 2020 while implementing preventive safety measures, however, now that a case of Covid‑19 has been confirmed within Tokyo, we cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated,” they said.

Organisers said that all registered runners would be allowed to defer their entry until next year.


Chinese students’ plans to study in foreign schools and universities are being dashed with key entrance exams scrapped amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The College Board, which organises the standardised Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, for admission to colleges in the US, cancelled the March 14 test for all registered students travelling from China to other locations for the exam, according to an email sent to students. The test will be administered in cities like Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, but not in mainland China.

Graduate school entry exams, GRE and GMAT, and English proficiency tests IELTS and TOEFL were also cancelled for March, China’s National Education Examinations Authority said on Monday - marking the second straight month test takers have been unable to undertake the exams in China. The registration fees for all the tests will be refunded.


With the ongoing cancellations, Chinese students may miss deadlines to apply to top universities across the world. A drop in the intake of Chinese students could deal a blow to educational institutions, especially those in the US, UK and Australia which have grown reliant on revenue from Chinese fee payers in recent years.


World indoor championships in Nanjing from March 13-15 postponed to March 2021.

Hong Kong Marathon on Feb. 9 cancelled.

Asian indoor championships in Hangzhou from Feb. 12-13 cancelled.

Tokyo Marathon on March 1: Restricted to elite runners.


Formula One’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 postponed. New date not set.

Formula E’s Sanya E-Prix in Sanya on March 21 cancelled.


China Masters in Hainan from February 25-March 1 postponed. New dates not set.

Asian team championships in Manila from February 11-16: China and Hong Kong withdrew.


Olympic test event in Zhangjiakou from February 27-March 2 cancelled.


Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifier moved from Wuhan to Amman, Jordan from March 3-11.


Asian Championships in Chongqing from April 25-May 3 to be relocated.

World Cup in Wujiang from April 18-19 cancelled.

World Cup in Chongqing on April 22 cancelled.


Hong Kong showjumping leg of Longines Masters Series from Feb. 14-16 cancelled.


Hockey Pro League matches between China and Belgium on February 8-9 and Australia on March 14-15 postponed.

India women’s tour of China from March 14-25 cancelled.

Ireland women’s tour of Malaysia in March-April cancelled.


Honda LPGA Thailand in Pattaya from February 20-23 cancelled.

HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore from February 27-March 1 cancelled.

Blue Bay LPGA on Hainan Island from March 5-8 cancelled.

European Tour

Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from April 16-19 postponed.

China Open in Shenzhen from April 23-26 postponed.


Olympic women’s qualifying tournament in Montenegro from March 20-22: China withdrew. Hong Kong declined invitation to attend.


Hong Kong Sevens moved from April 3-5 to October 16-18.

Singapore Sevens moved from April 11-12 to October 10-11.


Asian Nacra 17 Championship in Shanghai from March 1-6 moved to Genoa, Italy from April 12-19.

Asian 49erFX Championship in Hainan from March 20-29 moved to Genoa, Italy from April 12-19.


Alpine World Cup in Yanqing from February 15-16 cancelled.


Asian Champions League: Matches involving Chinese clubs Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua, and Shanghai SIPG postponed to April-May. Beijing FC allowed to play from February 18.

Asian women’s Olympic qualifying Group B tournament relocated from Wuhan to Sydney from February 3-13. China vs. South Korea playoff on March 11 moved from China to Malaysia.

AFC Cup: All group stage and playoff matches in east zone delayed to April 7.

Chinese Super League, due to start February 22, delayed.

Asian men’s futsal championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from February 26-March 8 postponed.


Asian water polo championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan from February 12-16 cancelled.

Diving Grand Prix in Madrid from February 14-16: China team withdrew.

Diving world series event in Beijing from March 7-9 cancelled.


Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tournament moved from Dongguan to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from March 3-7.


Beach volleyball World Cup in Yangzhou from April 22-26 postponed.


Asian Championships from April 18-25 moved from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.


Asian Championships in New Delhi from February 20-23: China, North Korea, Turkmenistan teams withdrew.