WASHINGTON — The Qatari government announced March 3 that the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference, or DIMDEX, is now canceled as the region combats the spread of the new coronavirus known as COVID-19.

DIMDEX is among the first major defense trade shows canceled as the virus has shown signs of community spread in the Arabian Gulf region, though several high-profile companies pulled out of the Singapore Airshow due to virus fears.

The biannual event, hosted by Qatar’s armed forces, in 2018 hosted about 13,000 attendees, according to a news release. The announcement was made on the DIMDEX website.

“Following the cancellation of a number of global events including the Mobile World Conference in Spain, ITB in Germany and the Geneva International Auto Show, the DIMDEX 2020 organising committee has been consulting with public health officials and the Government of the State of Qatar regarding the status of the event,” the announcement read.

“Though the risk to the general public in Qatar remains low, our primary concern remains the health and welfare of all residents and visitors to Qatar and for this reason the event will no longer be held,” it added.

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Qatar stood at three, as of March 2, according to the World Health Organization, but there have been about 1,000 cases in Iran. In the United Arab Emirates, the WHO has determined that, while the number of cases is just about 20, the virus appears to be spreading in the community.

Bahrain and Kuwait have about 50 cases each, while Iraq has about 20.

David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.

More In Mideast Africa