ICANN has declined a request from dozens Chinese registrars for a fee waiver due to the impact of coronavirus.
In February, almost 50 China-based accredited registries and registrars said they were suffering financially as a result of the outbreak and asked ICANN for an "immediate fee waiver" to "greatly help stabilize our business in the difficult time".
ICANN has denied this request. In a letter (pdf), senior director of gTLD accounts and services Russ Weinstein wrote:
While we sympathize with the potential financial impact this unprecedented event may have on contracted parties, we are not prepared to provide a waiver at this time. We are closely monitoring the situation and its impact on the domain industry. We are interested in hearing more from representatives from the contracted parties to better understand the problems both the contracted parties and the registrants are facing and ideas for potential solutions.
As I said back in February, what was then largely a Chinese problem looked likely to quickly become a global problem, which unfortunately seems to be the course we're on. Just six weeks later, China isn't even the worst-affected country any more.
Even without fee waivers, ICANN has noted that it expects a "significant" impact on it is 2020-21 budget due to the pandemic.