GSMA stands firm on event going ahead
Amazon and Sony have become the latest company to pull out of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
“Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about the new coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020,” Amazon said in a statement shared with Reuters.
And in a statement on its website, Sony wrote: “Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30th, 2020.
As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.
“The Sony press conference will now instead take place at the scheduled time of 8:30am (CET) on February 24, 2020 as a video via our official Xperia YouTube channel to share our exciting product news.”
The retailer and manufacturer are the fourth and fifth company to pull out of the annual event following Ericsson, LG, and American chipset maker Nvidia. Amazon was due to host a conference through its cloud computing company AWS, while Sony would be expected to announce developments in its Xperia smartphone range.
The GSMA confirmed in a statement yesterday that the event would still go ahead.
It has also added extra precautions, including the banning of travellers from Hubei province, where the virus originated, all travellers from China needing proof they have been outside of China for 14 days prior to the start of MWC, temperature screening, and attendees needing to self-certify they have not been in contact with anyone infected.
Around 5,000-6,000 visitors come from China to the event. Huawei and ZTE have thus far confirmed their attendance at the event, having implemented preventative measures for their employees who are due to travel.
According to recent reports, the virus has killed 908 people in China, and has spread to at least 27 other countries and territories. Only two people have died outside mainland China, in the Philippines and Hong Kong.