(Bloomberg) --

Dubai is monitoring coronavirus variants rather than country-specific outbreaks as the city prepares to host the delayed Expo 2020 event this year.

“We continue to believe that vortexes will emerge and decline in the course of the next five months” until the start of the event in October, Expo 2020 Director General Reem Al Hashimy told Bloomberg TV. Vaccines are helping mitigate the spread, she said.

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The Expo, which Dubai has been preparing for a decade, is meant to be one of the biggest events globally this year and generate billions of dollars for the government. The minister emphasized that the event will start on October 1, a year later than was originally planned, and that the city still aims for 25 million visits to the site.

The United Arab Emirates has one of the fastest vaccination rates in the world and the country’s health authority said last month that it may consider imposing movement restrictions on people who haven’t yet taken a vaccine despite being eligible for one.

Al Hashimy said the government is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated and the Expo 2020 workforce must get inoculated. “But we’re not enforcing it on the regular tourist, or the regular visitor.”

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