Virus fears play out ahead of shrinking global tech event

Tech News

FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2017 file photo, people crowd at the LG stand during the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain. Sony and Amazon are the latest companies to pull out of a major European technology show over virus fears.Sony said Monday it’s scrapping its appearance at Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile industry trade fair, in Barcelona, Spain later this month. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)

LONDON (AP) — The impact on travel and commerce from the viral outbreak in China is playing out ahead of one of the world’s biggest technology fairs.

Facebook, U.S. tech giants Cisco Systems and Intel, the U.S. wireless companies AT&T and Sprint and the Chinese smartphone maker Vivo said Tuesday that they have pulled out of the Mobile World Congress, which is to take place Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain. They join a host of other major communications and tech companies that have withdrawn.

This year’s event was expected to host the largest contingent on record from China.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Facebook employees won’t be attending this year’s Mobile World Congress due to the evolving public health risks related to coronavirus,” Facebook said in a statement.

AT&T cited the safety of its employees and customers in pulling out.

Already, Ericsson, Amazon, Sony and LG have scrapped plans to attend what has become the world’s biggest mobile industry trade show. It was expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors, including 5,000 to 6,000 from China, the source of the viral outbreak that has infected tens of thousands of people and killed more than 1,000.

Event organizers for the Mobile World Congress have prohibited anyone traveling from the Hubei province, home to the virus epicenter of Wuhan. Attendees who have traveled in China must prove that they have not been there in the two weeks prior to the event.

Officials will be doing temperature screenings at the event, as well as increasing its efforts to disinfect high traffic areas and surfaces, like touch screens and handrails.

The cancellations will have an economic impact on Barcelona, the host city, though the extent is not known. The show was expected to generate 492 million euros ($538 million) this year, according to organizer GSMA, an industry trade group, and create more than 14,000 part-time jobs.

“While further planning is underway, we will continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our plans according to developments and advice we receive,” the GMSA said in a prepared statement.” We are contending with a constantly evolving situation, that will require fast adaptability.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Don’t Miss

Best of the Valley
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.