The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, has been cancelled after several major exhibitors pulled out over concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak, according to an announcement by conference organizer GSMA. The event, which had originally been scheduled to run from February 24 – 27, draws approximately 100,000 attendees annually, and is often used by mobile phone manufacturers to unveil their new products.
“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 written statement. “The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision.”
Earlier this week a number of high-profile exhibitors reportedly pulled out of the event over coronavirus concerns, including Amazon, Ericsson, Facebook, Sony, Intel, Cisco and LG. Spokespeople for both Facebook and Amazon cited the outbreak and public health concerns as factors in their decision.
The GSMA said that it will continue to work with city officials for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions of the event.
“Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world,” GSMA said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named this coronavirus COVID-19. In its latest update, the organization said that there have been no new cases reported within the past 24 hours. There are currently over 43,100 cases worldwide in 25 countries. There have been 1,018 deaths from the disease thus far, all but one in China.