The Swiss government has suspended all events in the country that house more than 1,000 participants as a precaution to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The precaution will continue until 15 March as an attempt to prevent the virus spreading.

After the announcement, The 2020 Geneva Motor Show announced that it was to be cancelled.

“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,” said motor show chairman Maurice Turrettini in a statement. Tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded.

The Swiss government statement read: “Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until March 15th,” the government said in a statement after the country registered its ninth case.

“In the case of public or private events at which fewer than 1,000 people would gather, event organisers must carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent cantonal authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held”.

The government said it was “aware that this measure will have a significant impact on public life in Switzerland” but added that “it should prevent or delay the spread of the disease, thus reducing its momentum”.

The federal government said that the scale of the outbreak allowed it to take special powers to order measures that are normally the responsibility of Switzerland’s cantons. “The cantons are responsible for enforcing the ban,” the statement said.

Health Minister Alain Berset said that similar measures had proved “effective” in other countries: “We have to expect an increase in cases in the next few days”.

Coronavirus or Covid-19 has already taken a toll on major exhibitions and other events in Switzerland.

Organisers of Geneva’s international expo of fine watches cancelled the April event. Earlier this month, Swatch cancelled its Zurich trade show over coronavirus fears and the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva had been postponed until September.