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Exhibitors Pull Out of MWC Due to Coronavirus Concerns, Leading to Increased Safeguards

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The Mobile World Congress show is set to open its doors in Barcelona on Monday, February 24th. However, many high-profile exhibitors have begun to pull out due to coronavirus concerns. This has led the MWC to implement new safeguards for attendees

TechCrunch reported that although the MWC is still a few weeks out, a number of exhibitors have begun to drop off. ZTE, LG, NVIDIA and Ericsson, who were all set to appear on the show floor, have backed out. In addition, Amazon and Sony also followed in withdrawing from the show, according to The Verge.

This has led the GSMA, the MWC’s organizers to release a response which includes a list of stipulations and regulations attendees have to follow. This includes a ban on any visitor travelling from the Hubei province.

The GSMA’s list from CEO John Hoffman is as followed:

  • All travelers from the Hubei province will not be permitted access to the event
  • All travelers who have been in China will need to demonstrate proof they have been outside of China 14 days prior to the event (passport stamp, health certificate)
  • Temperature screening will be implemented
  • Attendees will need to self-certify they have not been in contact with anyone infected.

To assist in additional exhibitors from dropping off, the GSMA is working alongside the Catalan Health System to detect and treat coronavirus if need be. In the release, Catalan health minister Alba Vergés states: ““The Catalan health system is prepared to detect and treat coronavirus, to give the most appropriate response, and this must be clear to those attending MWC Barcelona.”

The GSMA’s response notes that an increased disinfectant program will be in place, encouraging attendees to follow proper hygiene protocols during the MWC. The show will also be promoting a “no handshake policy” as well. GSMA states that 5-6 percent of its visitors originate from China, equating to roughly 5000-6000 attendees.

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