Amazon, Sony and Amdocs have become the latest companies to announce that they will not be sending their personnel to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month, due to concerns about the growing coronavirus pandemic scare originating out of China.
The new announcements Monday morning follow earlier pullouts by LG, ZTE, Nvidia and Ericsson.
Mobile World Congress is slated for Feb. 24-27. It is one of the biggest trade events in the wireless communications business, if not the biggest.
“Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on Jan. 30th, 2020,” Sony said in a statement posted to its website. “As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.”
Added Shuky Sheffer, president and CEO of Amdocs, a major vendor to Comcast and other telecom companies, in his statement: “In the face of the public health concern from the novel coronavirus, we are placing the highest priority on protecting the health of our employees, customers and partners. While we appreciate the precautionary measures put into place by the GSMA, we believe the safest option is not to attend MWC 2020 in Barcelona.”
On Sunday, GSM Association, which organizes MWC, released an updated statement detailing steps its taking against the spread of the corona virus. No travelers from China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, will be permitted access to the event. And anyone who visited other regions of China will need to prove that they have been out of the country for the previous 14 days.
More than 900 people have died in mainland China alone since coronavirus was first detected in late December amid nearly 42,000 confirmed cases.
Mobile World Congress counted around 109,000 attendees last year, with somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 coming from China, according to the GSMA.
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