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Josiah Flores
Josiah Flores

GSMA Cancels MWC 2020 Due To Coronavirus Health Concerns


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.




GSMA cancels MWC 2020 due to coronavirus health concerns


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A week ago, LG was the first big name to announce that it would be pulling out of MWC, which had been scheduled to take place at the end of this month. In subsequent days, a who's who of tech companies, including AT&T, Facebook and Amazon, cancelled their participation in the annual event. The number of dropouts snowballed until only a handful of the event's major exhibitors remained. The companies withdrawing cited the health risk that the coronavirus posed to their employees at the show, which attracts over 100,000 attendees from around the world.


The organizers behind the Barcelona-based event, GSMA, announced Wednesday it would no longer be holding MWC due to ongoing concerns over the spread of a new strain of coronavirus which originated in China.


"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," GSMA said in a statement.


A press statement issued by GSMA states, "Since the first edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2006, the GSMA has convened the industry, governments, ministers, policymakers, operators and industry leaders across the broader ecosystem. 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. The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the Host 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."


On February 7, Ericsson issued a press statement saying, "Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Ericsson has taken the decision to withdraw from the industry event GSMA Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2020 as the health and safety of employees and customers cannot be ensured. The demos and content created for MWC Barcelona will be showcased at local events, called 'Ericsson Unboxed'."


After cancelling the participation at MWC 2020, HMD Global also issued a statement saying: "MWC Barcelona has always been a key event in our annual calendar and we were very excited to showcase our new products to our partners, customers, media and fans. However, the health and safety of our employees, customers, and stakeholders is our highest priority."


The future of events as a result of coronavirus needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Event planners should prioritize agility in order to respond as circumstances change. Add clear cancellation policies to all attendee, vendor, and exhibitor contracts and also consider increased health measures on-site. Smaller events may consider virtual meetings and all organizers should craft an effective crisis communications plan.


This latest cancellation comes on the heels of MWC Barcelona being canceled. With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA canceled 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.


Given there is no effective treatment or containment measures to deal with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), organizers of CP+2020 have decided to cancel the event due to overall concerns, mainly the risk to the health and the safety of visitors and exhibitors. The event was originally scheduled to be held over 4 days at PACIFICO Yokohama from February 27.


Local officials had scrambled to keep the event alive, ensuring people there was "no public health reason to cancel any event" and that the region has a "very low risk of the coronavirus," according to regional health chief Alba Verges.


Meanwhile, the local Catalonia government is insisting that there's no reason the event needs to be canceled. An official was reported as saying (translated), "[our] health system is absolutely ready to detect and treat Covid-19," and that there are still no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the region.


In the light of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak, GSMA has decided to cancel its upcoming Mobile World Congress 2020 trade show that was scheduled for late February. Over the past few days numerous important companies decided not to appear at the show, which significantly reduced its appeal to attendees. GSMA will now focus on organizing MWC 2021 and other events.


Nokia and HMD Global sent out separate press releases from their neighboring offices in Espoo, Finland, confirming the outbreak of the coronavirus Covid-19 and the concern for the health of their employees is the major reason to pull out of the event in Barcelona.


By Shubham Verma: Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest congregation for the tech industry, has been cancelled over the concerns centring Coronavrius epidemic. The Global System for Mobile Communications, popularly known as GSMA, announced on Wednesday that the tech exhibit had to be called off, mainly because major tech companies pulled out of MWC 2020 as a preventive measure amid the outbreak. The decision comes a day ahead of the meeting that was scheduled for February 14 by GSMA to observe the situation for MWC to take place this year. The Mobile World Congress was slated to run between February 24 and February 27.


In a statement, GSMA CEO John Hoffman said, "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." Mobile World Congress attracts a footfall of over 100,000 attendees from all over the globe. The event also gives a colossal boost to the economy of Barcelona, Spain.


"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," John Hoffman, the CEO of GSMA, said in a statement.


The decision to call off the conference comes after several giant tech companies and wireless carriers such as Nokia, Vodafone, Amazon, Sony, Facebook and Intel dropped out. The companies expressed health safety concerns of staff and visitors.


Update, February 12, 2020 (2 PM ET): The final shoe has dropped as the Mobile World Congress 2020 show itself has now been canceled by its operators, the GSMA, due to the current coronavirus threat.


MWC 2020 is no longer going forward in late February in Barcelona, Spain. This decision was made after several companies announced they will not be attending the trade show due to the current coronavirus outbreak.


On February 11, in a statement sent to Engadget, MediaTek announced its withdrawal from MWC 2020. Like every other company that is backing out of the event, MediaTek cited health concerns for its staff and others attending MWC as the reasoning behind its absence.


GSMA CEO, John Hoffman, said, 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."


The coronavirus is a virus that has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). On February 12, 2020, there were 45,171 confirmed cases of the virus around the world, according to a WHO report.


MWC 2020 was a constant year after year in the tech world, the place where the biggest tech companies would show their mobile products and consumer electronics. However, due to the coronavirus threat, companies like LG, Ericsson, Vivo, Intel, Nvidia, Amazon and more were forced to rethink their plans and eventually, to back out from the event mere weeks before its start.


Whereas, in December 2019, a new strain of coronavirus, referred to as COVID-19, emerged and on 30 January 2020 was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a public health emergency of international concern. As of 18 February 2020, there are over 73,000 confirmed cases globally, with over 1,800 reported deaths. While most of these cases are in China, there are confirmed cases in 25 other countries around the world. As we understand the situation, much remains unknown about the spread of COVID-19, though it is documented to be transmittable even through asymptomatic carriers.


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