The Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak still shows no signs of a slowdown, but the Chinese government continues its struggle to prevent its spread. Not only does the epidemic cause havoc among the population, but the country's economy is likewise affected. Several factories have already ceased operations for the sake of its employees. The fallout is also felt globally as manufacturer's predict production problems and shipment delays. Now, the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 is seeing top exhibitors pulling out due to the perceived health risks.
High profile brands such as ZTE, LG, Amazon, Nvidia, Ericsson, and Now, are confirmed to have backed out of the annual expo. MWC 2020 is scheduled to start on Monday, Feb. 24 and will continue until Thursday, Feb. 27. The venue hosting the mobile device trade show is the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain. Most companies use it as an ideal opportunity to make big announcements, launch new products, and to showcase upcoming concepts or technology.
MWC 2020 typically features around 2,400 companies each year with more than 100,000 attendees during the expo, reports CNN Business. While there are still exhibitors that are braving the waters amidst the widespread fears of the rising Coronavirus infections, the industry's biggest names are notably stepping back from the event for now.
"Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about novel coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020," a statement released by the American online retail outfit said. The company originally intended to market its cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services and discuss its plans for artificial intelligence and 5G network connectivity.
The event organiser GSMA assures its partners and attendees that there are no plans to cancel any of the planned activities. Instead, it will strictly enforce a no-entry policy for visitors and participants who have been in China recently.
Several companies who were originally participating are now issuing statements regarding their withdrawal from MWC 2020. Meanwhile, Samsung confirmed that its Unpacked 2020 event will push through. To safeguard the organisers and attendees, it will have precautions in place such as temperature monitoring, hand sanitiser stations, availability of face masks upon request, and more. Health experts are still working on a vaccine that will hopefully be effective against the Wuhan Coronavirus strain.