In just two weeks, it’s time for the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to kick off. One of the biggest of the yearly tech shows, MWC is all about showing off the latest and greatest in mobile phones, and the technology that surrounds them. This year’s event seems to be a more muted affair though. Thanks to the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus and its propagation, many of the event’s biggest exhibitors have bowed out of the event.
The latest major tech company to withdraw is Amazon, who have expressed worries over the “outbreak and continued concerns” around the virus.
“Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about the new coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020,” the company said in a statement on Sunday. Amazon had planned to show off advancements made to its AWS cloud platform.
Amazon joins Nvidia as the second American company to pull out of MWC. That’s a major blow, as Nvidia was one of the headline sponsors of the event.
“Given public health risks around the coronavirus, ensuring the safety of our colleagues, partners and customers is our highest concern,” Nvidia wrote in a blog post. “We’ve been looking forward to sharing our work in AI, 5G and vRAN with the industry. We regret not attending, but believe this is the right decision.”
Several other companies have decided to skip MWC – including South Korean company LG, china’s ZTE and Swedish giant Ericsson.
“The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly,” says Börje Ekholm, president and CEO of Ericsson.
The GSMA, which organises MWC says the event will go ahead, but they’ve implemented safeguards to inhibit spread of the disease – including a band on handshaking and antiviral handwashing stations.
- All travelers from the Hubei province will not be permitted access to the event
- All travelers who have been in China will need to demonstrate proof they have been outside of China 14 days prior to the event (passport stamp, health certificate)
- Temperature screening will be implemented
- Attendees will need to self-certify they have not been in contact with anyone infected.
Just this weekend, a UK resident was tested positive for the virus in Majorca, Spain – so it’s likely we’ll see more major exhibitor’s giving MWC 2020 a miss.
As of this morning, there are 40,548 confirmed cases of Novel coronavirus, with the current official death toll standing at 910. The virus has spread to at least 27 countries and territories since December, infecting 330 people outside of China. To date, there have only been two deaths from the virus outside of China, both Chinese nationals. For the first time since the virus’s discovery, it’s starting to look like new infections may plateau.
Last Updated: February 10, 2020