World’s biggest phone show cancelled due to Coronavirus fears

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) The organiser of the world's biggest phone show ‘Mobile World Congress' 2020 on Thursday cancelled the annual event in Barcelona in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus fears which saw several top exhibitors and tech companies pulling out of the event.

In a statement, the GSM Association (GSMA) said that the coronavirus outbreak which has killed over 1,000 people and left thousands infected has made it “impossible” to hold the event.

The MWC 2020 was set to take place in Barcelona from February 24 till February 27.

“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event,” said GSMA CEO John Hoffman.

The ‘Host City Parties' respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the aHost City Parties' will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world,” the CEO added.

Most infections and deaths from coronavirus are being reported in Wuhan and Hubei Province in China but nearly 25 countries have now reported Coronavirus cases.

The MWC has a big economic impact of 492 million euros and also generates over 14,000 part-time jobs.

Earlier, Cisco and Facebook became the latest big tech firms to drop out of the world's largest mobile industry exhibition.

Both companies joined the growing list of companies — including LG Electronics, Ericsson, Nvidia, Sony, Amazon, Intel, Vivo, and NTT Docomo to not attend the mobile trade show.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Facebook employees would not be attending this year's Mobile World Congress due to the evolving public health risks related to coronavirus. We will continue to collaborate with the GSMA and our partners and thank them for their efforts,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

Cisco took to Twitter to announce that it would not participate in the MWC 2020.

“We have made the difficult decision to withdraw from participating in Mobile World Congress scheduled for Feb 24-27 in Barcelona due to concerns about the current outbreak of coronavirus,” the company tweeted.

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, however, said that it will participate in MWC 2020 and will also stick to its original schedule.

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