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Here is a list of important global events affected by COVID-19


COVID-19 has affected almost every sector and country. Many important events had to be either cancelled or rescheduled. Here is a list of important global events affected by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic is considered the worst crisis since World War II, that has affected all continents except Antarctica. To combat the viral outbreak that has gripped nations, many countries have taken measures to halt social gatherings for an indefinite period, till the pandemic subsides. Educational institutions are continuing courses online while restrictions have been imposed on the strength of crowd for weddings and funerals. Gymnasiums, parks, malls, tourist spots, religious places, and offices have also been closed temporarily in most countries. From international to state level, governments have shut the borders to prevent the virus from spreading. Only essential services are allowed to cross borders. Many events including conferences, summits, and sporting events scheduled to be held this year have been either cancelled, re-scheduled, or held online.

From international conferences like COP 26 and film festivals like Cannes to Olympics, have all been either re-scheduled, cancelled, or held online. Cancellation or re-scheduling of events due to COVID-19 come with economic loss and commercial concerns.

This story lists out some of the major events that have been re-scheduled amidst the pandemic. The events have been grouped into four categories- International conferences, Elections, Sports, and others.

International Conferences

ASEAN Summit, Las Vegas

US President Donald Trump had invited the members of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for meeting in Las Vegas on 14 March 2020. ASEAN comprises of ten member countries- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

UNFCCC COP 26, Glasgow

The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled to be held from 9 November to 19 November 2020 at Glasgow in Scotland has been postponed to 2021. The decision was announced by President Designate of COP 26, Alok Sharma MP, on 02 April 2020. Preparatory events such as Pre-COP, and Youth Event which were to be held at Italy have also been postponed. The formal meeting of UNFCCC parties is held annually to assess the progress made by countries to deal with climate change.

World Press Freedom Conference 2020, Hague

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands, on consultation with UNESCO, has postponed the annual World Press Freedom conference which was supposed to be held from 22 to 24 April 2020. The conference has now been re-scheduled for 18 to 20 October 2020 at the World Forum in Hague, Netherlands. The conference has been held annually since 1993, providing a platform for journalists, national authorities, civil society representatives, and academics to discuss challenges to press freedom and safety of journalists.

World Bank and IMF’s Spring Meetings

Usually, during the annual Spring Meetings, the World Bank- IMF Development Committee and IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee hold meetings in which they discuss the progress of works undertaken by World Bank and IMF. However, this year, meetings were held in virtual format as per schedule because of which related events such as seminars, regional briefings, and press conferences on global economy and development were called off. Global recession and economic repercussions due to pandemic were discussed.

global events affected by COVID-19_Spring meetings 2020

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kigali

The 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was scheduled to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 22 to 27 June 2020. The meeting and associated events have been postponed. The new dates are yet to be announced. This year’s theme is ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.’ The biennial meeting of leaders from all commonwealth nations was last held in London in 2018 on the same theme, ‘Towards a common future’.



Bolivia’s Presidential election has been postponed. The presidential election was originally slated for 03 May 2020. The new dates are yet to be notified. The elections in Bolivia were held in October last year, causing widespread protests and violence and resulting in the resignation of socialist leader, Evo Morales, who was one of the longest serving leaders of Latin America.


The general elections in Serbia have been postponed and the fresh dates will be announced after the state of emergency in the country ends. The Serbian government announced nationwide emergency with effect from  15 March 2020.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections were supposed to be held on 25 April 2020. The Election Commission has notified that the elections will now be held on 20 June 2020. The deadline for postal voting applications has also been extended.


Reports suggest that parliamentary elections in Syria have been pushed to 20 May 2020 from 13 April 2020.


Rajya Sabha elections to 18 seats spread across Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Meghalaya have been delayed indefinitely as per the notice issued by the Election Commission of India on 03 April 2020.


Olympics and Paralympics 2020, Tokyo

The International Olympic Committee and Japanese President, Shinzo Abe announced that the 32nd  Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo would be rescheduled to a later date, not beyond Summer 2021, following WHO’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic. In a later announcement, the IOC announced that the Olympics and Paralympics will be held on the same dates in 2021- Olympics from 23 July to 08 August, 2021 and Paralympics from 24 August to 05 September, 2021. Recently, Tokyo 2020 President has been reported to have announced that the games will be either held in 2021 or cancelled. The Olympics torch-lighting ceremony was held behind closed doors on 12 March.


The qualifiers for Asian countries to the football World Cup 2022, Qatar was supposed to be held during 23 to 31 March and 1 to 9 June 2020. However, FIFA, the international federation for football, has announced that these matches will be postponed to future dates, which will be notified later.

English Premier League, EUFA’s Champions League and Europa League also stand postponed until further notice.


Indian Premier League, India’s popular 20-over cricket tournament, held every year during summer has been suspended until further notice.  BCCI Secretary Jay Shah made the announcement on 16 April 2020. Other international matches and series have also been affected by the outbreak.


The prestigious Wimbledon, also known as the Championships 2020, has been called-off this year. The 134th Championships have been scheduled to be organized between 28 June and 11 July 2021, instead. Wimbledon, like the Olympics, has earlier been affected only by World Wars.

French Open, or Roland Garros, has been postponed and will now be held from 20 September to 04 October 2020. It was originally scheduled for 18 May 2020.

Indian Wells 2020, popularly known by the name, BNP Paribas Open, has been cancelled this year.

In addition to the above-mentioned sports, several other championships and World Cups have been postponed including 2020 World Table Tennis Championship, U-17 Women’s Football World Cup, National Basketball Association’s Season etc.


Mobile World Conference which is considered the greatest smartphone exhibition has been cancelled.

Game Developers Conference and World’s biggest Gaming show E3 have also been cancelled.

Dalai Lama has also cancelled all his public engagements until further notice.

The annual famous London Book Fair which attracts publishers from across the world has been cancelled.

Japan’s cherry blossom festival, which is held during spring every year, is a top attraction of Japan that draws plenty of tourists. The festival stands cancelled.

Corporate giants, Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, all cancelled their in-person development conferences and will hold these conferences online with a different format.

Featured Image: By Asao Tokolo


About Author

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s in social science, she is driven by ardent desire to work with this unique combination to create her own path instead of following the herd. Having served a stint as the college union chairperson, she is a strategist who is also passionate about nature conservation, art and loves solving Sudoku.

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