GSMA confirms that MWC 2020 will go ahead, despite Coronavirus concerns

Published: 10 February 2020 - 5:25 a.m.

The GSMA has confirmed that the MWC 2020 event will go ahead as planned, despite fears over the potential spread of the Coronavirus.

Held from the 24th to the 27th of February in Barcelona, MWC is among the biggest events in the telecoms event calendar.

Last week a number of key participants announced they would be pulling out of the event, with LG Electronics, web giant Amazon and headline sponsor Ericsson announced that they would not be attending this year’s event. Other big hitters, such as Huawei and ZTE have confirmed that they will only send staff from outside of China to attend the event.

“I know that the Coronavirus has created disruption, in particular for exhibitors and attendees from around the world, including the 5-6,000 (5-6 per cent) who have historically attended from China. Our sympathy goes to all those affected,” said GSMA CEO, John Hoffman.

“We are grateful for the preventative measures our Chinese exhibitors have put in place, notably ZTE and Huawei. Today, the GSMA is moving ahead as planned and will host MWC Barcelona 24-27 February 2020. While the GSMA confirm some large exhibitors have decided not to come to the show this year with others still contemplating next steps, we remain more than 2,800 exhibitors strong.”

The GSMA stated that it will be implementing a heightened security protocol at the event to guard against the spread of the disease.

The GSMA will not allow attendees from Hubai province, the epicentre of the outbreak, to attend the event. All travellers who have been in China will need to supply proof that they have been outside of China for at least 14 days, before they are admitted to the event. The GSMA will also implement mandatory temperature screening at the show itself.

Last week, the Catalan Health Minister, Alba Vergés, said that the city of Barcelona was fully prepared for the event to go ahead.

“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,” said Vergés.

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