MADRID (Reuters) – Sony Corp on Monday became the fifth company to pull out of this month’s international telecoms conference in Barcelona over fears related to the coronavirus.

The event, the Mobile World Congress – which attracts more than 100,000 visitors, is due to take place on Feb 24-27.

Amazon.com Inc, South Korea’s LG Electronics, Swedish equipment maker Ericsson and U.S. chipmaker Nvidia have already said they will not attend the conference.

GSMA, the conference organiser, had no immediate comment.

Sony said its launch event for the conference would be held via video. “As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain,” it said in a statement.

In a statement on Sunday GSMA had said no one from China’s Hubei province – where the coronavirus outbreak started – would be allowed to attend the conference, while visitors from China must prove they have been outside the country for at least two weeks prior to the event.

These measures add to earlier actions aimed at preventing the spread of the virus across the conference’s three main venues, including changing microphones between speakers and advising all attendees to adopt a “no-handshake policy”.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China has risen to more than 900, with more than 40,000 people infected. More than two dozen countries are grappling with the virus, which has infected more than 330 people outside China.

Spain has just two cases confirmed on islands off the mainland.

In 2019, some 6% of Mobile World Congress attendees were from China, according to GSMA’s post-congress report. Most were from Europe, around 64%, as were about 45% of the exhibitors.

Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE have said they will attend, ordering China-based staff to self-isolate ahead of the event and drafting in European staff to cover for those not able to attend from China.

The GSMA estimates that the Mobile World Congress boosted the local Barcelona economy by around 470 million euros ($514.65 million) last year.

GSMA is an industry association representing more than 750 operators and 400 companies in the mobile business.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki, Douglas Busvine, writing by Ashifa Kassam. Editing by Jane Merriman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Dem strategist apologizes for saying Sanders surrogate had no ‘stand’ to use MLK Jr.’s words

A Democratic strategist apologized Friday for saying Bernie Sanders co-chair Nina Turner did not have standing to use Martin Luther King Jr.’s words against Joe Biden. The strategist, Hilary Rosen, faced backlash online for her remarks Thursday. She said she…

Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer, guilty of war crimes, dies at 77

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer, who admitted overseeing the torture and killings of as many as 16,000 Cambodians while running the regime’s most notorious prison, has died. Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, was 77 and…

Amid coronavirus pandemic, Texas border agents see human smuggling on the rise

The City of Laredo, Texas, is home to the busiest border port of entry in the country. From managing 7,000 commercial business trucks driving into and out of the United States into Mexico daily, to an increase in drug trafficking…

Iraqi president threatens to quit as he rejects PM pick by pro-Iran bloc

Leader says appointing Basra governor Asaad al-Aidani would not placate protesters or help end weeks of unrest Announcement comes as anti-government demonstrators block roads and bridges after torching several buildings overnight Source