Ericsson, LG and others pull out of MWC over coronavirus
Ericsson has joined LG Electronics, Amazon and NVIDIA in pulling out of the Mobile World Conference over novel coronavirus concerns.
The Swedish electronics company issued a statement on 7 February saying, “After an extensive internal risk assessment, Ericsson has decided to take further precautionary measures by withdrawing from MWC Barcelona 2020, the largest event in the telecom industry.”
The statement said, “Ericsson appreciates that GSMA have done everything they can to control the risk… [but] as one of the largest exhibitors, Ericsson has thousands of visitors in its hall each day and even if the risk is low, the company cannot guarantee the health and safety of its employees and visitors”.
“The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority,” said Börje Ekholm, Ericsson’s President and CEO.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We were looking forward to showcasing our latest innovations at MWC in Barcelona,” he added.
“It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year’s event.”
The move follows similar announcements from LG Electronics, Amazon and NVIDIA.
The GSMA, which runs the conference and exhibition, said that while it can “confirm some large exhibitors have decided not to come to the show this year with others still contemplating next steps, we remain more than 2800 exhibitors strong”.
The GSMA said that it has put in place measures to protect attendees, including:
- a ban on all travellers from Hubei province;
- requiring all travellers who have been in China to show proof they have been outside of China 14 days prior to the event;
- temperature screening.
In addition, a wide array of cleaning, disinfection, staff training and visitor information measures are in place to protect attendees.
In a press conference on 7 February, Spanish Health Minister Alba Vergés said the region of Catalonia is not a public health risk zone, stating, “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.”
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