World's largest smartphone trade show canceled over coronavirus fears

GSMA Cancels Mobile World Congress Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

MWC, which was set to take place between February 24 and 27 in Barcelona, is a massive industry trade event which typically features many Chinese mobile phone manufacturers. The GSM Association (GSMA) cited health and safety concerns, travel concerns and other circumstances for the cancellation of MWC Barcelona 2020.

In today's announcement, the GSMA also noted it wanted to keep Barcelona, the host city for MWC, safe from the illness.

Our deepest sympathies are with those affected in China, and all around the world. The Mobile Congress Party was to be held from 24 to 27 February.

Some of the major exhibitors who earlier announced their non-participation in this year's MWC were Sony, LG, Ericsson, Amazon, Nokia, Facebook, and Vivo.

Since last week, no fewer than five major companies have pulled out of the event for the same reason. More than that, Mobile World Congress is also a huge focus of consumer attention, as many smartphones are launched at the event. The worldwide death toll due to the virus has crossed 1,300 and the number of confirmed cases to more than 60,000. "We're working shoulder to shoulder, completely coordinated, with maximum loyalty and absolute transparency towards the public, so that next year's edition of the MWC Barcelona is the best ever, and the first of many more to come". According to a report from El Pais, MWC brings in €492 million or around $536 million and creates 14,000 temporary jobs in Barcelona.

But he said that large gatherings of people with many worldwide guests posed a particular risk: "To take this risk would be irresponsible".

Wired reported that GSMA had been lobbying the Spanish government to declare a health emergency that would allow it to cancel the event.

JUST IN: The 2020 Mobile World Congress has been canceled by GSMA because of #coronavirus fears. Lenovo was among the few companies still slated to attend the event before the cancellation. With all of these people mingling in close proximity for days, and then flying back home, the potential for the coronavirus to further spread around the globe would be enormous.

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