The GSMA has officially announced the cancellation of MWC 2020 due to concerns over the coronavirus. The organizers have called off the event for the first time in 33-year history of MWC Barcelona. It brings at least 100,000 participants from around the world to find out the latest innovations, pitch to investors, and making deals. The CEO of the conference organizer GSMA, John Hoffman informed Bloomberg News about the decision in a statement. He said, “The global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern, and other circumstances make it impossible to hold the event”.
GSMA followed with an official statement, citing the Novel coronavirus concerns for those traveling to and living in the host city of Barcelona, Spain. The statement also confirmed the GSMA and partners still plan to hold Barcelona 2021 and future editions. LG was the first company to officially withdraw from the MWC on 4th February. Swedish wireless equipment manufacturer, Ericsson AB pulled out from the event on 7th February to ensure the safety of staff and customers. Bloomberg News earlier reported the GSMA is planning to cancel the MWC 2020 event.
JUST IN: The 2020 Mobile World Congress has been canceled by GSMA because of #coronavirus fears.
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) February 12, 2020
It is noteworthy that the death toll in China from the coronavirus rose to 1,200 and confirmed cases on the mainland have reached more than 44,700. The MWC 2020 event was due to run from 24th Feb to 27th Feb. Now, GSMA had stepped up sanitary precautions to reassure visitors and advised against handshakes, introducing body temperature scanners, a protocol for changing microphones, and restricting entry to recent arrivals from China.
Moreover, some delegations had replaced Chinese staff with colleagues from other countries or sent their China representatives ahead of time to prevent being striped. At least 30 companies withdrew from the event prior to the cancelation announcement from the GSMA, including Amazon, Amdocs, AT&T, BT, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Facebook, HMD Global, Intel, LG, McAfee, MediaTek, Nokia, NTT Docomo, Nvidia, Orange, Rakuten, Royole, Sony, Sprint, Vivo, Vodafone, and Western Digital.