The organizers of the World Mobile Telephony Congress said Wednesday that they canceled the most important mobile phone trade fair in the world due to fears derived from the coronavirus that caused an exodus of heavy industry weights.
The mobile fair is one of the biggest events in the world that has been canceled so far due to the virus that has killed more than 1,100 people to date.
The announcement came after the GSMA, the mobile commerce association that organizes the annual show, met to decide the fate of the event that was planned to take place in Barcelona from February 24 to 27.
“The GSMA has canceled the MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the concern about travel and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event,” a statement said.
He added that the decision was made with “due consideration to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country”, and that the parts of the host city understood the cancellation.
A few hours before the meeting, Vodafone, Nokia, Deutsche Telekom, Great Britain BT and Rakuten from Japan had retired, following in the footsteps of Intel, Facebook, Cisco and Vivo de China.
A source close to the event had said that the organizers were cautious to keep a cancellation bill of approximately 100 million euros ($ 110 million). They faced resistance from the authorities for declaring a health emergency in Spain that would allow insurance to cover costs.
So far, Spain has only registered two confirmed cases of infection, in coastal islands.
The annual congress normally attracts more than 100,000 people, including 5,000 to 6,000 participants from China, organizers say.
But this year, participation was affected by the viral outbreak that has infected some 44,600 people.