The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) 2020 has been cancelled following a ban by the Swiss government on all large events with more than 1,000 attendees, in response to the coronavirus threat. The ban will be in place until at least March 15.

The annual show is one of the world’s largest automotive events and attracted as many as 600,000 executives and car fans to the city last year. The 90th edition of the GIMS, which was supposed to welcome the media on March 2 and the general public on March 5-15, will not go ahead and all ticket holders will be refunded.

Maurice Turrettini, chairman of the Foundation Board, said: “We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision.”

Organisers are now having to look to the logistics of dismantling the show.

The financial consequences of the cancellation will be significant and will need to be assessed in the coming weeks.

The event’s director, Olivier Rihs, said the cancellation could cost the Geneva economy between €200m and €250m (£170m-£213m) because of lost spending. The organisers expected to lose about €2m (£1.7m), although carmakers’ fees to exhibit were non-refundable, he said.

In response to the ban, Baselworld, the watchmaking trade show which was to be held from April 30 to May 5, has made the decision to postpone the event until January 28 – February 2.

Following the announcement by Switzerland, France has banned all indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people, and, in the worst-hit area, north of Paris, all public gatherings have been banned.

Measures announced after an emergency cabinet meeting also included the cancellation of the Paris half-marathon, which was due to take place March 1.

In addition, the first two races of the MotoGP season, scheduled to take place in Qatar and Thailand in March, have been cancelled.