Organisers GSMA allegedly to meet on 14 February to decide if Mobile World Congress (MWC) should go ahead in light of Coronavirus outbreak
GSMA, the organisers of the 2020 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, are reportedly meeting on Friday 14 February.
According to a Spanish media report cited by GSMarena.com, the organisers of the event which is scheduled to begin on 24 February, are allegedly meeting to discuss whether the event should go ahead in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The coronavirus outbreak is already much worse than the SARS outbreak back in 2002 and 2003 which infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774 over a period of several months.
Coronavirus on the other hand has already killed more people, and more quickly, than that previous epidemic 17 years ago.
Coronavirus has so far killed at least 1,100 people in China (there have been a few deaths outside of China), and infected over 45,000 people – again mostly in China.
This outbreak has led to a number of big name tech firms including Facebook and Intel to announce they are pulling out of this years MWC. Earlier this week Sony and Amazon said they were withdrawing from the show.
Last week South Korea’s LG Electronics, Sweden’s telecoms equipment maker Ericsson, and US chip company NVIDIA all announced they were withdrawing the MWC conference, which runs between 24 and 27 February.
The GSMA has so far publicly stated that the show will go ahead, although it admitted other companies are considering whether to attend.
And the GSMA said that it was putting in place additional measures to “reassure attendees and exhibitors that their health and safety are our paramount concern”.
These measures reportedly include a ban on all travellers from China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, while people who have been in China must provide proof they have been outside the country for 14 days.
The GSMA also reportedly says it will suggest participants should not shake hands with each other at the show, and microphones used by speakers will be disinfected and changed.
If this Spanish media report is correct, the world will find out on Friday whether the world’s largest mobile tech event will go ahead.