Count Mobile World Congress as the coronavirus’s latest victim.
The GSM Association today announced that it’s cancelling this year’s version of the global wireless industry’s biggest trade event, which was set to kick off in Barcelona, Spain on February 24, amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic originating out of China.
Cancellations my major constituencies had already become a major issue for GSMA, with AT&T and Sprint jointing Sony, Amazon, Ericsson and host of other major technology companies choosing to eschew the risk of exposing their staffs to the virus.
In a statement, GSMA CEO John Hoffman said the coronavirus outbreak made conducting a global technology event with a huge Chinese constituency not practical:
“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,” Hoffman said. "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.”
Globally, coronavirus infections have exceeded 42,000 reported cases, with more than 1,000 reported deaths associated with the illness.