GSMA cancels MWC 2020 due to coronavirus health concerns

An exodus of exhibitors from Mobile World Congress has resulted in GSMA officially cancelling this year's event in Barcelona.

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GSMA has officially announced that MWC 2020 is canceled. The world's largest mobile trade was expected to take place Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, attracting more than 100,000 visitors. With the coronavirus outbreak instilling fear across the globe, the MWC hosts decided to shut down the show. 

SEE: Coronavirus having major effect on tech industry beyond supply chain delays (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

"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 John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Limited, in a press statement.

Concerns over attending MWC were already surfacing, as many major vendors and exhibitors decided to withdraw. Last week, LG became the first major company to announce it wouldn't attend. Many other tech giants followed, including Sony, Nvidia, ZTE, Ericsson, Amazon, and Intel. 

The pneumonia-like disease surfaced in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019. Since its outbreak, the coronavirus has spread around the world, reaching Russia, Thailand, the UK, the US, Australia, Spain and more, according to the CDC.

Not only is MWC Barcelona hosted in a country where cases of the coronavirus have been cited, but it also brings in techies from around the world, including other infected regions. 

The decision to cancel the show comes after a meeting on Wednesday by the GSMA council, reported CNET.

For more, check out Coronavirus: How companies can handle employee travel in wake of deadly virus on TechRepublic. 

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